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MCS Alumni Spotlight: Matt Schwartz ’77 & John Burnham Schwartz ’79

Thursday, December 3, 2015

This issue’s Alumni Spotlight features the stories of two brothers, Matt Schwartz ’77 & John Burnham Schwartz ’79.

As president & CEO of the California Housing Partnership (CHPC), Matt Schwartz ’77 assists local government and nonprofit organizations with the preservation and creation of affordable housing through policy advocacy, technical assistance and training. Matt has worked in the development, planning and financing of affordable housing for more than 20 years in both the private and public sectors.

Matt has spearheaded CHPC’s efforts to expand resources for affordable multifamily rental housing throughout the state. He also plays a leadership role in California in shaping housing-related legislation and regulations to expand the resources available to preserve and create affordable housing for the state’s lowest income residents. In recognition of this work, the Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing named Matt the 2010 Advocate of the Year and the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California awarded Matt the 2013 Inspirational Leadership Award.

Matt is a past president of the board of Housing California, a member of the board of governors of the National Housing Conference and is an active participant in the National Affordable Housing Preservation Working Group developing federal legislation to renew and preserve the nation’s existing affordable rental homes and to protect extremely low-income families from displacement. Matt is fluent in Indonesian and is a graduate of Stanford University (bachelor’s in history) and Harvard University (master’s of public policy, housing and human services). Matt also worked with a school very much like MCS called Children’s Day School in San Francisco. He served on the school’s board for 10 years, including three years as board president when they expanded and added a middle school to their existing preschool and elementary programs. Matthew and his family live in San Francisco.


John Burnham Schwartz ’79 is a critically acclaimed, bestselling author of many novels, including Claire Marvel, The Commoner, Bicycle Days and Reservation Road. In 2007, Reservation Road was made into a film based on his screenplay. Random House published his fifth novel, Northwest Corner, which picks up the lives of some of the characters from Reservation Road 12 years later.

At Harvard College, John majored in Japanese studies, and upon graduation accepted a position with a Wall Street investment bank, before finally turning the position down after selling his first novel. That book, Bicycle Days, a coming of age story about a young American man in Japan, was published in 1989 on his 24th birthday. It went on to become a critically acclaimed bestseller.

Schwartz was a recipient of a 1991 Lyndhurst Prize for mastery in the art of fiction. His journalism has appeared many publications including The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, The Boston Globe, and Vogue, and numerous essays of his have been anthologized.

Since writing the script for Reservation Road, Schwartz has become an accomplished screenwriter. He recently worked on The Wizard of Lies, an upcoming HBO film about disgraced financier, Bernie Madoff, starring Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer. He is also literary director of the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference, one of the leading literary festivals in the country. John and his family live in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn and he has graciously hosted several MCS students over the past few years during Eighth Grade Mentoring Day. Read more at