Willy Foote

Founder and CEO, Root Capital

Skoll Awardee


Willy Foote is founder and CEO of Root Capital, a nonprofit agricultural lender that provides capital, delivers financial training, and strengthens market connections for agricultural businesses in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Under Foote’s leadership, Root Capital has disbursed $750 million in credit to 500+ rural businesses building sustainable livelihoods for 1.1 million smallholder farmers, and counts upon over $100 million in assets. Since 1999, Root Capital’s clients have improved farm productivity, facilitated steady access to markets, and provided $920 million in payments to smallholder producers.

Foote is on the Executive Committee of the Aspen Network for Development Entrepreneurs (ANDE), and is a member of Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) and the Council on Foreign Relations. He received the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship in 2005, and was named an Ashoka Fellow in 2007, a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in 2008, and one of Forbes’ “Impact 30” in 2011. He is a 2012 Henry Crown Fellow of the Aspen Institute and a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network. He holds an MS in development economics from the London School of Economics and a BA from Yale University.