About Us

Who is Charles L. Harper?

Charles Harper is an executive strategist, consultant, and project manager in the conceptualization, design and execution of high-impact and innovative projects in philanthropy. He is responsible for launching hundreds of initiatives at the interface of education, philanthropy, the humanities, scientific research, public service and enterprise.

Harper was selected by the great investor-philanthropist, Sir John Templeton from a pool of more than 800 candidates to lead the growth and development of his major foundation, the John Templeton Foundation, for over a dozen years in the role of Executive Director, Senior Vice-President and Chief Strategist. 

“Your strong leadership commitment to  quality as a core strategy for excellence in output and, therefore, impact. . . Your inspirational vision and leadership . . . The passion, zeal and focus that you bring to bear in networking . . . make an enduring impact.”

John M. Templeton, Jr., MD

Harper is the founding Chairman of Geneva Global, Inc., an innovative philanthropic organization initiated and developed by a distinguished philanthropic family that has made more than $80M in grants worldwide within the developing world.

As the founder and President of Vision-Five Consulting, Harper has also worked with the entrepreneur, private equity investor and philanthropist, Randy Best, as Chancellor for International Distance Learning and SVP for Global Programs for Best’s Whitney International University System. He led a project of the Philanthropy Roundtable focused on developing strategy for philanthropists and business leaders seeking to advance the quality, impact and accessibility of graduate business education worldwide with special focus on innovation in entrepreneurship education. He is presently engaged in a major project to design new academic institutions focused on hyper-productivity in technology innovation entrepreneurship.

At the John Templeton Foundation, Harper developed more than 100 programs in over a dozen countries involving over $200M in grant making. He created the San Marino seminar series as well as the Humble Approach Initiative, jointly a more-than-decade long series of over 40 high level international research seminars. He also co-founded the Philanthropic Leadership Network, a series of private seminars involving select groups of philanthropic leaders and visionaries.

Educated in engineering as well as the liberal arts at Princeton, Harper holds both a science doctorate and a postgraduate liberal arts diploma from Oxford University (Balliol College), a certificate of special studies in management and administration from Harvard University, a certificate of studies from the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity and a certificate of studies in Polish History and Polish-Jewish Studies from the Jagiellionian University.  Harper worked for the International Rescue Committee in Thailand during the 1980 refugee crisis, and as a counsellor for troubled youth with Son Village in Oregon, where he was a Mt Hood ski instructor and mountain rescue specialist.  He has lived and worked in India, Pakistan and Nepal.

Harper was awarded an NRC post-doctoral fellowship at the NASA Johnson Space Center and taught at Harvard for 5 years where he developed scientific projects supported by large grants he raised from NASA and the NSF to develop new technologies to illuminate formation histories of the Sun, planets and Moon.

In 2008 he was honored by a National Humanities Medal awarded at the White House to the John Templeton Foundation for projects he developed to innovate course teaching in the humanities focused on the topic of freedom. He was a founding member of the “Vision Circle” advisory group to the X-Prize Foundation and presently serves as a Senior Fellow of MIT’s Legatum Center for Development & Entrepreneurship. He also serves as a senior fellow of the Human Rights Foundation and as an advisory board member to the microfinance fund, Microvest, and to the Journal of Enterprise Solutions to Poverty of the Judge Business School of Cambridge University. He has has taught at the Aspen Institute. Harper has edited 9 books and has more than 50 scientific research publications in distinguished journals such as Science, Nature and the Astrophysical Journal.

The father of four children, he is married to Susan Billington Harper, D. Phil., a Rhodes Scholar. Harper is an outdoorsman, enjoying skiing, whitewater kayaking, rock-&-ice climbing, mountaineering, fly fishing and scuba diving.  A varsity athlete in football and the elected captain of Princeton’s rugby team, he seeks to complete the “seven summits,” climbing each of the highest peaks of the seven continents. He also is a licensed airplane pilot and a certified emergency care attendant.

Click on these links for a detailed biography and examples of Charles L. Harper’s work: 




Interview and Lecture



Charles L. Harper Jr.


“One of the most creative and innovative minds in philanthropy.” 

Adam Meyerson, President,

The Philanthropy Roundtable