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Our Story

Sarah and Max met in 2013 through their volunteer board work for UNICEF USA. Sarah had just left her corporate career to become a public servant, while Max was taking a break after twenty years in the energy & environmental arena.

At the time, social impact investment had been approached through a philanthropic lens or with the expectation of modest, if any, financial returns. A couple of years later, Max and Sarah co-founded MaSa Partners to build a financially sustainable venture that invests, grows and recycles capital.

Since inception, MaSa Partners has built a multi-sector portfolio addressing some of our greatest challenges, such as climate change and gender & income inequality.

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Meet the Founders

Max Duckworth

Max’s Belief

Max believes we can improve the planet and people’s lives without sacrificing our economic well being. In his corporate career, Max saw first-hand how clean air programs can significantly reduce pollution at a fraction of the projected cost to industry. And today, the renewable energy industry is one of the largest job creators in our modern economy. Max is confident we can cost-effectively overcome our greatest challenges — such as climate change and adaptation – by investing in people, fostering innovation, and increasing access to early capital.

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Max and Crop One

Max’s Value

In his 1.0 career, Max held a number of executive positions at a Fortune 500 energy company, helping the organization grow from a start-up into an industry leader with a global footprint. He looks back at the most challenging times in his career as the most rewarding. Max applies his corporate experience and lessons learned to advise early-stage companies in many areas — including governance, organizational structure, strategy, fundraising, financial reporting, risk management, deal structuring and M&A.

Max’s Commitment to the Community

Max grew up all over the world, living in half a dozen countries before the age of ten. The diversity and cultural richness he experienced at an early age instilled in him the belief that we are all connected and part of one global community. Max served as Chair of UNICEF USA’s Mid-Atlantic regional board and as a member of its National Development Committee. Max also served on the honorary board of Halcyon, an incubator for social entrepreneurs and artists, and is currently a MERLIN mentor.

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Max at Liverpool

What you might not know about Max…

Max’s academic background is in particle physics but when his doctoral project was canceled, he turned his attention to environmental issues. He has published several papers on climate change, clean air and renewable energy policy, which have been widely cited. He was born in London though he has always supported Liverpool FC, speaks three languages, and is part-owner of a biodynamic farm in the UK. He has traveled all over the world and does not believe in coincidences.

 

MaSa’s Support Team

Vicky Likens

Vicky Likens

Vicky runs the mid- and back-office at MaSa, and makes sure the trains (and Max) run on time. She also conducts research and supports our due diligence.

Emma Stutzman Headshot

Emma Stutzman

Emma is a Summer Fellow with MaSa, where she leads digital communication efforts. A recent UW Madison grad and current MPA candidate at the La Follette School of Public Affairs, Emma is helping portfolio companies excel.

Sarah Godlewski

Sarah-Godlewski-Headshot

Sarah’s Belief

Sarah believes that social good does not have to come at the expense of sound business. For many years, these were two completely separate concepts in her life, as she juggled her management consulting career with her desire to support philanthropic ventures. During a women’s microfinance project in rural India, Sarah experienced how the infusion of financial and human resources from local banks not only empowered entrepreneurs, but transformed entire communities. A few years later, she co-founded MaSa Partners to support entrepreneurs in their quest to transform socially responsible initiatives into financially sustainable businesses.

Sarah’s Value

Over her career, Sarah has led projects for government agencies, Fortune 500 companies and nonprofits and has seen what works and more importantly what doesn’t work. Sarah adopts an inclusive, consensus-driven approach to developing plans that achieve results. For example, her work for the Under Secretary of Defense involved a large stakeholder coalition and saved taxpayers tens of millions. Sarah’s dedication and commitment to excellence was recognized when she became the youngest recipient of the Booz Allen Women’s Success Award.

Sarah Air War College
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Sarah’s Commitment to the Community

Sarah’s commitment to the community has been a constant in her life. She has served on numerous non-profit boards, as well as a Congressional Task Force on PTSD. Her work has supported a wide range of missions ranging from women and gender equality to the wellbeing of veterans and service members. Sarah’s commitment to her home state of Wisconsin led her to take a sabbatical from MaSa Partners to save the Office of State Treasurer. After running the campaign to defeat the ballot amendment proposing to eliminate this constitutional office, Sarah ran for the position and was elected State Treasurer in November 2018.

What you might not know about Sarah…

Sarah’s passion for politics developed at an early age as she served as student body president of her middle school, high school and college. Sadly for MaSa, Sarah left the business in 2018 to focus entirely on public service. As State Treasurer, Sarah is using her financial and investment experience to benefit the people of Wisconsin.

 

Sarah speaking