Co-Founder and Chair, Eastern Congo Initiative
Ben Affleck is a director, actor, writer, and producer and is a recipient of two Academy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, two BAFTA Awards, and two Screen Actors Guild Awards. Over his decades in the entertainment industry, Affleck’s acting credits include John Madden’s Oscar-winning “Shakespeare in Love,” David Fincher’s “Gone Girl;” and reprising the iconic role of Batman in three feature films. Outside of his successful film career, Affleck is a passionate advocate and philanthropist. In 2010, struck by the atrocities throughout the DRC, Affleck co-founded Eastern Congo Initiative (ECI) alongside Whitney Williams, an organization focused on investing in and working with the people of eastern Congo through grantmaking and advocacy. ECI believes that local, community-based approaches are essential to creating a sustainable and successful society in eastern Congo and works to increase the quality and quantity of investments in the region. Under Affleck’s leadership, ECI has provided over $10.5 million to 45 Congolese community-based organizations, with over 60% specifically crafted to impact women. This funding has supported a range of initiatives from the revitalization of the coffee and cocoa sectors to Nobel Prize winner Dr. Denis Mukwege’s work with survivors of rape and injustice. In 2019, believing that collaboration is integral to better solutions, Affleck led ECI’s acquisition of Asili, a social business enterprise providing world-class water and healthcare services. ECI’s transformational work has most recently been featured in the Stanford Social Innovation Review’s Spring 2021 issue, as well as highlighted in Forbes following the acquisition of Asili. Affleck is deeply committed to public policy and the impact of multilateral cooperation. He has testified 5 times before both the U.S. House and Senate, advocated for Congo before the United Nations, and has met with numerous elected officials over the last decade to increase international diplomacy, understanding and support for the region. Notably, his first congressional testimony was before the House Foreign Affairs Committee, advocating for women and children, on International Women’s Day in 2011. He was honored to have Cindy McCain present during the testimony, following the announcement that she had joined ECI’s Board of Directors. Affleck has written about Congo extensively, and can be found in The New York Times, the Washington Post, Politico, Huffington Post, and TIME. Affleck has appeared on Meet the Press and Face the Nation as a citizen diplomat on the DRC. In addition, Affleck has been a featured speaker on numerous platforms, such as Clinton Global Initiative, CSIS, Wilson Center and Philanthropy Innovation Summit at Stanford. In addition to extensive travel throughout the DRC, Affleck’s learning and advocacy trips have taken him to Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Sudan, Republic of Congo and Zanzibar.