Patricia “Patty” McIlreavy

President and CEO

humanitarian leadership, equitable recovery, philanthropy

Patricia “Patty” McIlreavy (MAC-ill-ree-vee) is president and CEO of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, the only full-time resource dedicated to helping donors maximize their impact through more intentional giving in response to domestic and international disasters. CDP’s expertise and tangible results for communities worldwide have helped it evolve into a trusted resource for philanthropy. With over 30 years of experience in international humanitarian policy and practice, Patty brings a unique blend of operational and strategic expertise to disaster philanthropy. Throughout her career, she has focused on improving the effectiveness and impact of the aid sector.  

Prior to joining CDP in March 2020, Patty served as vice president of the humanitarian team at InterAction. During that time, she directed InterAction’s efforts to assist the humanitarian community, including its NGO members, United Nations (UN) agencies and the Red Cross/Red Crescent Movement (RC/RC), to address the needs of marginalized populations. While at InterAction, she represented the organizations’ membership and participated in numerous inter-agency and independent reviews of country-level coordination and impact, traveling regularly to crisis-affected countries. Patty expanded NGOs’ position, partnerships, and influence in multilateral and bilateral forums and global events and led the development of the InterAction CEO Pledge on the Prevention of Sexual Abuse, Exploitation, and Harassment of and by NGO Staff 

Patty has more than 17 years of lived overseas experience, primarily in Africa and the Middle East, working in direct support of response and recovery operations. While based out of Jordan, Patty worked as a consultant for a diverse group of organizations, including humanitarian NGOs, RC/RC, the UN and NATO. Before this, Patty worked for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in positions of increasing responsibility, based out of Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Burundi and Kenya. As regional director for the Horn and East Africa, she oversaw IRC’s relief, rehabilitation and post-conflict development programming, totaling more than $134 million, across eight countries. Patty’s experience in the humanitarian field began in 1993 when she joined USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance. 

A frequent writer and sought-after speaker on humanitarian leadership, equitable recovery and philanthropy in disasters and humanitarian crises, Patty has given keynotes and spoken on podcasts, with media and at events, such as The Value In Giving, Alliance Magazine, the Sabanci Foundation Seminar, Texas A&M PRIMR, The Conference Board and Exponent Philanthropy’s annual conferences. 

Patty holds a master’s degree in International Affairs from the American University School of International Service and was a 2014-2015 fellow of MIT’s Seminar XXI program. She has served on multiple inter-agency committees, including the U.S. Department of State’s Stabilization Advisory Council, the UN OCHA Change Management Advisory Group and the CSIS Task Force on Humanitarian Access. She is currently a member of the Global Executive Leadership Initiative Technical Advisory Committee, the Forbes Non-Profit Council and a Leap Ambassador. Patty is an Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.  

Connect with Patty on Twitter and LinkedIn 

Articles by Patricia “Patty” McIlreavy

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