LAFF Society


News About Ford Foundation Staff, Winter 2020


Alfred Ironside, who had been vice president for Global Communications at the Ford Foundation, has joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology as its vice president for communications. 
As a member of the senior team at the institute, he will oversee its Office of Communications, which includes the news office, Communications Initiatives, Reference Publications and CopyTech.
“As MIT’s chief communications officer,” wrote MIT’s president, L. Rafael Reif, “Alfred will advise senior leaders across MIT and shape our overall communications strategy, including media relations, crisis communications, marketing and branding, as well as digital strategy and development.”
Alfred became Ford’s director of communications in 2006 and was named a vice president in 2014. During his time at Ford, as cited when he was promoted, he “built a robust and forward-thinking communications team, helped to develop the foundation’s global brand standards, guided a renewal of its online presence and introduced social networking and strategic events”. 
Before joining Ford, he was chief of global media relations for the United Nation’s Children’s Fund after a long career in foreign service and as a journalist.
He was a press attaché in the United States embassy in East Berlin and managed press relations during the Berlin Wall crisis. He later was a regional communications director for the American Red Cross.
As a journalist, he helped initiate the English edition of the Ha’aretz newspaper in Israel and this country, and produced stories for ABC news and National Public Radio (NPR).
John W. Bernstein, formerly chief operating officer at the Foundation, is the new chief financial officer of Vulcan, a philanthropy with “a broad portfolio of projects and investments focused on addressing ocean health through research, innovation and policy change”.
Vulcan was founded by the philanthropist Paul Allen, one of the founders of Microsoft, and has its headquarters in Seattle. 
Bernstein helped create and was the founding president of the Leon Levy Foundation, and spent more than a decade with the New York Botanical Garden. He began his management career at the New York Public Library after earning a master’s degree in business administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he had been an undergraduate.
“Philanthropy is at the heart of my professional and personal passion,” he said. “Vulcan’s diverse philanthropic portfolio, and the fact that its commercial divisions directly fuel its mission, present significant growth opportunities to make a positive difference in the world.” 



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