LAFF Society


News About Ford Foundation Staff, Fall 2019


Gerard Salole is retiring next year after 15 years as Chief Executive of the European Foundation Centre, an association of more than 200 public-benefit foundations and corporate funders active in philanthropy in Europe and elsewhere. Its headquarters is in Brussels.
“The success of the EFC and where it finds itself today,” noted its chairman, Massimo Lapucci, “is deeply connected to the dedication and work of Gerry and his guidance over the years.”
Salole became head of the EFC after working at the Ford Foundation from 1999 to 2005 as its representative for Southern Africa, based in Johannesburg. 
Prior to joining Ford he was director of the Department of Programme Documentation and Communication of the Bernard van Leer Foundation in The Hague, and worked for the Save the Children Federation, OXFAM UK and UNHCR, the United Nations Refugee Organization.
Salole is associated with several international organizations, including as chair of the Global Fund for Community Organizations and a member of the advisory board of the Open Society Foundations, the Strategic Advisory Committee of the European Venture Philanthropy Association and the board of Assifero, the Italian Association of Grant Making Foundations. He is also the Founding Chair of TrustAfrica.
He has a master’s degree in economics and a doctorate from the University of Manchester.    
Susan Hairston, who in an article in the last issue of this newsletter wrote of the confluence of her philanthropical and political careers and said she was looking forward to her “next audacious adventures”, has been elected to a seat on the city council of Summit, N.J.
She had previously served as president of the Board of Education and chair of Summit’s Democratic Party, “political achievements, she wrote, “that were pioneering and even astonishing to me upon examination”.
Although she expected to be “retired from local politics”, the opportunity to serve again arose when a member of the council died suddenly in August. 
Susan, who worked at the Ford Foundation for nearly two decades and was director of the Office of Program Operations and Services when she left in 2016, is director of the JPB Foundation. Through this combination of philanthropic work and local political activity, she wrote, “I learned to get things done behind the scenes and with a focus on the outcomes for people.”
 The “common denominator” in that work, she wrote, is the learned ability to “build infrastructure with a focus on the people while keeping my eye on the prize, which is inclusive and effective democracy.”
Sharada Ramanathan, a former program officer at the Foundation and now an award-winning filmmaker, has been the subject of several articles in the Indian press noting her  achievements as she prepares her second feature film for release.
Her work in philanthropy includes having helped establish the India Foundation for the Arts, which encourages the fine arts in her native country. She has also worked as a journalist for several publications, but is concentrating now on making films.
After working on documentaries, her first feature film, Sringaram, a story set in the early nineteenth century, was highly acclaimed, winning national awards for cinematography, choreography and music direction, and was featured in international festivals in New York City, Los Angeles and Dubai.
Her new film, Puthiya Thiruppangal, has a contemporary setting and deals with the explosive issue of child trafficking.   
Brandee McHale has wasted no time in her new position as president of the Wells Fargo Foundation, announcing the foundation is making $1 billion available over the next six years for a series of grants in a “philanthropic strategy that will address the key issues of housing affordability and small business revitalization”.
McHale took over the Foundation in August after working for 30 years in public and private philanthropy, including as a program officer at the Ford Foundation from 2005 to 2007 and, prior to joining Wells Fargo, president of the City Foundation and director of its Corporate Citizenship efforts.



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