The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Maria May

Maria May, senior program officer, leads the Gates Foundation’s efforts to accelerate impactful usage of digital financial services by unbanked and low-income people globally. She spent seven years with BRAC in Bangladesh, where she co-authored a book on its community-based tuberculosis control program, established the Social Innovation Lab, and led the R&D team for the microfinance program. She oversaw the launch of BRAC’s innovation fund for mobile money, which incubated pilots on digitizing school fees, emergency cash transfers, savings deposits, and other development activities.

Maria was a founding member of Harvard’s Global Health Delivery Program, where she wrote a number of case studies and research articles. She also consulted for the Brookings Institution, the Bridgespan Group, Harvard South Asia Institute, and Teach for All, and completed a fellowship with the New York State Health Department’s AIDS Institute. Her writing on financial inclusion, social innovation, and development has been published in outlets including the Lancet, the Guardian, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and the Center for Financial Inclusion.

She is originally from North Carolina and studied Sociology and Health Policy at Harvard.