Sonia Gardner Named UNCDF Goodwill Ambassador for Gender Equality in Access to Finance

  • November 27, 2020

  • New York, United States

Investment firm founder to advocate for gender equality in access to finance and the need to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), a UN aid agency dedicated to making finance work for the world’s poorest countries, today announced the appointment of investment management industry leader and philanthropist Sonia Gardner as UNCDF Goodwill Ambassador for Gender Equality in Access to Finance. In her role, Ms. Gardner will focus on advocating for ways to give women access to economic resources, including the capital they need to start and grow businesses, lift their families out of poverty, and in doing so, help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

A pioneer in the field of alternative investments, Ms. Gardner is one of the most successful women in asset management and has been an industry leader for over two decades. She is the President, Managing Partner and Co-Founder of Avenue Capital Group, a global alternative investment manager founded in 1995 with approximately $10 billion in assets under management. Avenue’s core strategies focus on undervalued debt and equity opportunities in the United States, Asia, and Europe. Headquartered in New York City, Avenue has 10 offices across the globe.

“We are thrilled to welcome Sonia Gardner as UNCDF’s first ever Goodwill Ambassador,” said UNCDF Executive Secretary Judith Karl. “This designation is a recognition of Sonia’s achievements in both finance and philanthropy and her commitment to the cause of gender equality. As a self-made entrepreneur and investment manager, Sonia has the credibility to engage with the financial industry— asset owners, high net worth individuals, fund managers, investment advisors, institutional investors, and more— on the new investment opportunities available in emerging markets that can help achieve the SDGs.”

“I am honored and humbled to assume the role of Goodwill Ambassador for UNCDF,” said Sonia Gardner. “Their work to use finance to support economic growth in the world’s poorest countries is pragmatic, creative, and helps to improve the investment climate and living standards for underserved women and communities globally.”

Ms. Gardner’s many achievements include the 2008 Industry Leadership Award from 100 Women in Finance, where she served as Chairman of the Global Board of Directors and is currently serving as Chairman Emeritus. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees of The Mount Sinai Medical Center and the Client Advisory Board of Citi Private Bank.

Ms. Gardner received her official UN Goodwill Ambassador Certificate of Designation from Ms. Karl at a short ceremony at Avenue Capital’s New York offices.


The UN Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) makes public and private finance work for the poor in the world’s 47 least developed countries. With its capital mandate and instruments, UNCDF offers “last mile” finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development. By strengthening how finance works for poor people at the household, small enterprise, and local infrastructure levels, UNCDF contributes to SDG 1 on eradicating poverty and SDG 17 on the means of implementation. By identifying those market segments where innovative financing models can have transformational impact in helping to reach the last mile and address exclusion and inequalities of access, UNCDF contributes to a number of different SDGs. For more information, please visit

About Avenue Capital Group

Avenue Capital Group is a global investment firm with assets under management of approximately $10 billion. Founded in 1995 by its Senior Principals, Marc Lasry and Sonia Gardner, Avenue is headquartered in New York, with three offices across Europe, five offices throughout Asia and an office in Silicon Valley. For additional information on Avenue, please visit