John McCall MacBain

Goodman School of Business




John McCall MacBain

Founder and President, McCall MacBain Foundation and Pamoja Capital

2008 Distinguished Leader

The 2008 Goodman School of Business Distinguished Leader is a Canadian international philanthropist and entrepreneur based in Geneva, Switzerland. 

Mr. McCall MacBain is the Founder and President of the McCall MacBain Foundation and Pamoja Capital, the Foundation’s investment affiliate. Beginning his entrepreneurial career in Montreal in 1987 with three publications, Mr. McCall MacBain was Founder, CEO and majority shareholder of the publicly listed Trader Classified Media, a leading global media company. Trader focused on local classified advertising via 50 internet sites and 350 print titles, with operations in 25 countries including the Auto Trader in most of Canada and operations in France, Spain, Russia, Australia, Argentina, Hungary and China to name a few. Other leading brands included La Centrale des Particuliers, Auto Hebdo, Infojobs.com, Iz Ruki Ruki, Trading Post, and Soufun.com. He sold the Company’s operations in 2006 to focus his efforts and resources on the Foundation and Pamoja. Mr. McCall MacBain plans to give away via the Foundation the vast majority of his wealth as well as all of the future earnings on his investments.

The McCall MacBain Foundation plans to make grants in excess of $1 billion over the next 25 to 40 years for projects that encourage sustainable positive change in several areas, including health and education in Sub-Saharan Africa, starting with Liberia, climate change globally and related development, community and environmental projects. Some of the Foundation’s current grants include a $ 5 Million grant to Medecins du Monde (Doctors of the World) to improve maternal health in Liberia, a $10 million grant to the European Climate Foundation, a multi-million dollar grant to Merlin to build a school for mid-wives in Liberia, a grant to the OECD Round Table for Sustainable Development, several grants in forest preservation and renewal in Canada and Liberia and a million dollar grant to Right to Play in Liberia to help with the re-integration of youth in a post-conflict environment. The Foundation will also help to stimulate investment of others in social and sustainable enterprises that relate to its primary areas of interest.

Pamoja Capital invests in businesses that provide an attractive long-term return for the Foundation and match the Foundation’s goals. Pamoja means “togetherness” in Swahili. Pamoja has several business investments in education, development and the environment. One of those businesses, Buchanan Renewables, is building a renewable energy biomass business Liberia which is re-vitalizing the rubber industry, creating hundreds of local jobs and developing the only electricity plant in Monrovia, Liberia.

John graduated from A. N. Myer Secondary School in Niagara Falls where he was President of the Students’ Council and then went to McGill University where he obtained an Honours B.A. in Economics and was President of the McGill Students’ Society, Head of the Welcome Week and Winter Carnival and Valedictorian. He was then awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and received an M.A. in Law from Oxford University where he was Captain of the Oxford Ice Hockey team. Mr. McCall MacBain completed his studies with an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. Prior to living in Geneva, Switzerland, Mr. McCall MacBain lived in Niagara Falls, Montreal, Oxford, England, Boston, Massachusetts and Paris, France. He is active in numerous charitable and international organizations including chairing the European Climate Foundation and being a member of  the World Economic Forum. He is an avid skier and has completed four marathons. John speaks three languages, being fluent in French and having a working knowledge of Spanish. Mr. McCall MacBain is married to Marcy McCall MacBain and has four children, Alexandra, Charles, Tara and Alivia. 
John McCall MacBain

John McCall MacBain, 2008 Goodman School of Business Distinguished Leader