Ray Chambers is a philanthropist and former Wall Street financier. He serves as the United Nations secretary-general’s special envoy for health in Agenda 2030 and for malaria, using his business expertise to catalyze efforts and commitments required for the successful implementation of the health-related goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In addition to global health, Chambers is also dedicated to economic, educational, and cultural development in his hometown of Newark, New Jersey, and throughout the United States.
Chambers earned a bachelor’s degree from Rutgers in 1964, then worked with Price Waterhouse while pursuing an MBA degree at Seton Hall University. Forging a robust career in the financial world, he cofounded Wesray Capital Corporation with former U.S. secretary of the treasury William Simon in 1981. As chair of the private equity firm, Chambers pioneered leveraged buyouts and negotiated high-profile acquisitions.
In 1989, Chambers left Wesray to commit full time to his philanthropic interests. He is a longtime supporter of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Newark, providing resources for tutoring, mentoring, and facilities renovation. He led the private sector effort to build the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. His MCJ Amelior Foundation has sponsored hundreds of students in Newark and around the country, enabling them to attend college tuition free.
Chambers cofounded America’s Promise Alliance with former U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell. One of the organization’s key initiatives is to increase the graduation rate in U.S. high schools to 90 percent by 2020. Recognizing the importance of mentoring relationships for at-risk youth, Chambers cofounded the National Mentoring Partnership in the early 1990s. That charitable organization has increased the estimated number of mentors for disadvantaged teens nationwide to more than four million. At the request of President George H.W. Bush, Chambers also served as the founding chair of the Points of Light Foundation, which supports volunteers for 250,000 service projects a year.
In 2006, alongside businessman Peter Chernin, Chambers cofounded Malaria No More, a not-for-profit focused on advocacy to elevate malaria on the global health agenda and mobilize the global resources required to eradicate malaria within a generation. In 2008, Chambers was appointed the UN secretary-general’s special envoy for malaria. During his tenure, more than one billion insecticide-treated mosquito nets have been distributed in sub-Saharan Africa, helping avert more than six million malaria-related deaths of children and reducing mortality by more than 70 percent.
In 2008, President George W. Bush recognized Chambers with the Presidential Citizens Medal for his humanitarian leadership in the United States and abroad. He has received honorary doctoral degrees from 10 universities.