• Press Release

New Nonprofit Leaders to Receive Boost From Open Society

June 18, 2014

Contact: Natalie Butz, [email protected], 202-675-8761, @AIUSAmedia

Two-Year Grants Will Support Leadership Transitions at Human Rights and Social Justice Organizations

(NEW YORK) – The Open Society Foundations today announced it will fund nine nonprofits – from the U.S. to Ghana – to help their new leaders to implement their vision.

“Executive directors come to their posts with innovative ideas, but often lack the necessary resources to execute them,” said Chris Stone, president of the Open Society Foundations. “We hope these grants can serve as a springboard for these leaders to jumpstart change.”

Open Society’s New Executives Fund gives organization heads with tenure of less than a year the flexibility to implement their own programs. It is the only available support of its kind for new nonprofit leaders.

“This fund is part of Open Society’s commitment to strengthening the nonprofit sector worldwide,” said Stone. “Our support during leadership transitions helps nonprofits navigate periods of change and growth.”

The current recipients represent a wide range of geographies and subject areas.

The Open Society Foundations launched the $2 million New Executives Fund last June. Leaders who show promise in fields central to Open Society’s mission are selected.

New Executives Fund Recipients:

Phil Bloomer, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre researches and disseminates information about the human rights impacts of over 5,100 companies, operating in over 180 countries. Phil Bloomer has thirty years of human rights and social justice experience in Great Britain, Latin America, and the Caribbean. He has held senior management positions with organizations, such as Oxfam Great Britain, and was the global advocacy lead and chair of the principal campaign body of Oxfam International.

Sulemana Braimah, Media Foundation for West Africa

The Media Foundation for West Africa works to promote, defend, and protect, freedom of expression for media, communication professionals, and human rights defenders. Sulemana Braimah is an expert in media and human rights issues, has facilitated workshops at the Pan African Conference on Access to Information, and serves on the governing council of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange.

Jennifer Epps-Addison, Wisconsin Jobs Now

Wisconsin Jobs Now is a nonprofit organization committed to fighting income inequality from the bottom up and building stronger communities throughout Wisconsin. The organization’s youngest executive director, Jennifer Epps-Addison brings fifteen years of advocacy experience. She was the lead organizer behind Milwaukee’s historic MORE Ordinance, a campaign which won the city of Milwaukee top prize in the National League of Cities’ Cultural Diversity Awards.

Carlos Garcia, Puente

Puente is part of the global movement for migrant justice and human rights, working to empower migrant communities and build bridges with various organizations and individuals. Carlos Garcia has an extensive career in grassroots mobilization and advocacy, including as a labor organizer with United Food and Commercial Workers. In 2007, he helped create Puente and has since become a key voice in the national struggle against retrograde immigration enforcement policies and practices.

Jose Guevara, Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights

The Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights strives to defend human rights through strategic litigation, information, and collaboration with individuals, state institutions, and international organizations. Jose Guevara has a mix of government, academic, and NGO experience. He has held positions as the Human Rights Minister at the Permanent Mission of Mexico to the UN and Deputy Director General for Human Rights and Democracy at the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Steve Hawkins, Amnesty International USA

Amnesty International USA strives to ensure that every person – regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity – enjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other internationally recognized human rights standards. Steve Hawkins brings a wide breath of experience following his time as Vice President and Chief Program Officer at the NAACP and Executive Director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Dealt Penalty.

Thomas Hughes, Article 19

Article 19 campaigns with activists around the world to ensure the freedom of expression and access to information are protected as fundamental human rights. Thomas Hughes brings fifteen years of experience advocating for press freedom, media development, and human rights issues. He joins Article 19 following his positions as Deputy Director of International Media Support and founder of Media Frontiers, an organization which runs an international advertising network for online news media from human rights repressed countries.

Adrian Lupusor, Expert-Grup

Expert-Grup is a Moldovan non-governmental organization that specializes in economic research and works to promote the public interest and advancement of Moldova’s development. Adrian Lupusor has been involved with the Expert-Grup in a variety of capacities, most recently as programs director. He has helped Expert-Grup become Moldova’s premier economic think tank by tackling some of the country’s most pressing geo-political issues, including analyzing the benefits of joining the EU and the impact of a Russia-led Customs Union.

Nicholas Turner, The Vera Institute of Justice

The Vera Institute of Justice combines expertise in research, demonstration projects, and technical assistance to help leaders in government and civil society improve the systems people rely on for justice and safety. Nick Turner returns to Vera following his time as a managing director at The Rockefeller Foundation, where he was a member of the senior leadership team and a co-leader of its global urban efforts. He provided strategic direction on initiatives such as transportation policy reform in the U.S. to promote social, economic, and environmental interests, and redevelopment in New Orleans to advance racial and socioeconomic integration.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist organization with more than 3 million members in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.