Debra A. Jones is a Co-Founder of IOFA and serves as the Board Chair. Debra is a senior advocate and influencer with 30 years of experience leading groundbreaking programs, high-impact advocacy campaigns, and pioneering research; a passion for empowering local communities to develop and execute innovative solutions to real-world problems; and a proven track record of entrepreneurialism and fundraising.
Ms. Jones currently serves as a Strategic Engagement and Communications Advisor at the Education Commission and an Assistant Adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. In addition, she is the co-founder and Chair of the Board of International Organization for Adolescents which addresses adolescent and child trafficking, and girls’ leadership development since 1999.
Ms. Jones has served as the Global Advocacy and Campaigns Director at JK Rowling’s Lumos Foundation with the aim of ending institutionalization of children. As Save the Children’s Director and UN Representative in New York, she was a senior advisor to UN leaders, ambassadors, and civil society partners to create lasting positive change for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable children.
In addition, Ms. Jones was Director of Global Advocacy for Family Care International (FCI) managing strategies for global, US, UN, and developing country level advocacy on reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health. She also served as FCI’s National Director in the Dominican Republic for two years.
As co-founder of the Paraíso Assistance Program (PAP), Ms. Jones worked with Haitian and Dominican community leaders in the early 1990’s to construct a community health facility and train local health promoters to provide health education programs in the rural southwest of the Dominican Republic.
Ms. Jones has held positions at the Rockefeller Foundation, the Presbyterian UN Office, and Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, and has served as a consultant with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, the World Bank, World Vision International, International Planned Parenthood Federation (WHR), Profamilia in the Dominican Republic, and other institutions. In 2011, Ms. Jones was selected to be part of the World Bank’s Civil Society Consultative Group on Health, Nutrition, and Population where she served as co-chair.
Ms. Jones holds master’s degrees in public health (population and family health) and international affairs (economic and political development) from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree from New York University. She is self-taught and fluent in Spanish. Finally, Ms. Jones is a Reiki Master.