Ben Hecht is the President and CEO of Living Cities, a collaborative of 18 of the world’s leading foundations and financial institutions who work together to boldly fight poverty in America’s cities.

Under Ben’s leadership, Living Cities has established a new data driven, model of social change that brings together local business, government, philanthropic and community leaders to disrupt long-obsolete systems and focus on achieving needle-moving results. The organization’s $40 million loan fund has been selected as one of the world’s top 50 impact investment funds for six consecutive years. Its network of local public sector leaders from more than fifty cities are spreading and adopting a new culture of municipal innovation and re-imagining the relationship between government and citizens. More than 50,000 people follow the organization on Twitter; adding more than 500 new followers weekly.

Prior to joining Living Cities, Ben co-founded One Economy Corporation, a non-profit organization focused on connecting low-income people to the economic mainstream through innovative, online content and increased broadband access. As President, from 2000-2007, Ben led the growth of the organization from four employees to a $12 million organization with 50+ staff, online media properties serving more than 150,000 low-income people a month, and programs in 40 states, the Middle East and Africa.

Immediately before One Economy, Ben was Senior Vice President at the Enterprise Foundation. There, he led the organization’s efforts beyond housing – into childcare, workforce development, and economic development. He also oversaw the expansion of the organization’s revolving loan fund from $30 million to $200 million.

Ben received his JD from Georgetown University Law Center and his CPA from the State of Maryland. For 10 years, he taught at Georgetown University Law Center and built the premier housing and community development clinical program in the country. In 1997, he was awarded Georgetown’s Charles Fahy Distinguished Adjunct Professor Award.

He has written three books, ManagingNonprofits.org (2001) with Rey Ramsey, Developing Affordable Housing: A Practical Guide for Nonprofit Organizations (3rd Edition, 2006) and Managing Affordable Housing: A Practical Guide for Building Stable Communities (1996) with James Stockard, all published by John Wiley & Sons.

Ben is currently Chairman of EveryoneOn, a national initiative founded by the Federal Communications Commission to connect low-income Americans to digital opportunity. He also sits on the National Advisory Board for StriveTogether, Duke University’s Center for Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) Advisory Council, and the U.S. Impact Investing Task Force to the G7. He previously served as Finance Committee chair and Treasurer for the Georgetown Day School (GDS) board of trustees. He has been selected as one of the Top 100 City Innovators Worldwide in the area of Urban Policy and as a Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Center Resident Fellow.

Watch Ben’s TEDx Talk

We Can Do This, America! Addressing Inequality in the Land of Opportunity TEDx Fargo, July, 2016.

TEDx Talk in Fargo on July, 2016.

Representative Articles and Blogs

Other Media Profiles & Events

Interview on Impact Investing and Inequality with Forbes’ Devin Thorpe

Interview from June 5, 2015

Ben appeared on a live, online interview with Forbes' Devin Thorpe to discuss impact investing and the role it can play in reducing inequalities in America.

Overcoming Obstacles to Enable Progress in Cities

From the New York Times ‘Cities for Tomorrow’ Conference, August 14, 2015

Ben appeared on a panel at the Cities for Tomorrow conference to discuss how cities can overcome obstacles and make progress that benefits all citizens.

Living Cities: Improving the Infrastructure of Low income Communities

From the 2011 Deutsche Bank Annual Report

This video interview with Ben appeared in the Deutsche Bank 2011 Annual Report.

2011 Independent Sector Annual Conference, Living Cities CEO Ben Hecht & Silicon Valley Community Foundation CEO Emmett Carson on Collaboration (Interview), November 1, 2011