Kaisth has over 25 years of experience launching philanthropic programs globally, raising over $100 million in philanthropic funds and $1 billion in program funds for higher education, refugees and social impact. She has special expertise in the area of higher education in emergencies, including managing a public-private partnership to rescue threatened academics and place them in safe haven in the German state of Baden-Württemberg, among other philanthropic initiatives.
She is also the Founder and President of Gratias Partners, a philanthropy advisory firm that helps donors to give more effectively and non-profits to develop new initiatives through collaboration and high-impact philanthropy. From 2005 to 2015, Daniela was Vice President of External Affairs and IIE Initiatives at the Institute of International Education (IIE), where she managed development, communications, and emergency services, leading the establishment of IIE’s Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF), Syria Consortium, and Artist Protection Fund. Since 2002, SRF has saved the lives and work of over 770 threatened scholars from 58 countries, placing them at more than 380 host partner institutions in 43 countries around the world. The program is now being replicated in other countries, most notably Germany and France. In 2009, Daniela published “Scholar Rescue in the Modern World” together with Dr. Henry G. Jarecki, Vice Chairman of IIE and Chairman Emeritus of SRF.
Kaisth serves on the boards or advisory councils of Princeton in Africa, Johns Hopkins University, SAIS, Ben’s Lighthouse, EngageAsia and the R Ventures Foundation. She leads a Refugee Giving Circle as well as an Innovation Working Group in Philanthropy, which gathers leaders from various sectors to discuss how innovations such as design thinking, systems change, impact investing, humanitarian storytelling and blockchain can improve the impact and effectiveness of philanthropic work.
She has a master's degree from Carleton University’s Norman Paterson School of International Affairs (NPSIA), a diploma from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and a bachelor's degree from Johns Hopkins University, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa.