25 May 2010

Sara K. Gould: Time for Me to Move on...Time for Us to Move Forward

Raised in a loving family of three boys and three girls (the boys came first!), I knew at an early age that there was a difference between what boys and girls were allowed, and expected, to do, and that these differences were due only to gender. Even then, I knew that it just wasn't fair, and that it didn't make any sense.

Addressing that unfairness -- and the understanding that came later of the ways in which oppression based on race, class and gender create intolerable injustices in our society and societies around the world -- has been the driving force of my work, most particularly the 24 years I've spent at the Ms. Foundation for Women.

And it remains my passion, but I have decided that it is time for me to pursue it in different venues. On November 19th, I will leave my beloved Ms. Foundation to become the Atlantic Senior Fellow at the Foundation Center, a national nonprofit service organization recognized as the nation's leading authority on organized philanthropy. During this two-year fellowship, funded by The Atlantic Philanthropies, I will work with both organizations, and the broader philanthropic community, to increase the focus on social justice philanthropy and advance thinking in key related areas, such as leadership development and grantmaking with a gender, race and class lens.

It is difficult to share this news with all of you who are such dear and valued supporters, colleagues and friends to me and to the Ms. Foundation. I treasure the relationships and friendships I've been privileged to develop and to enjoy with the many staff, board, grantees, donor partners and colleagues of the Foundation. I am so proud of the work we've done together, and so excited to see the amazing ways that it will develop and grow as the Foundation welcomes its next generation of leadership at the helm.

The Foundation is stronger than it's ever been. We have a talented and committed staff, a deeply experienced and effective chief operating officer (Susan Wefald, who will serve as interim president), an active and influential board, a more diverse donor base, and an endowment that is again near its record high. The moment is right to leap forward and say "yes!" to taking our work to the next level by engaging a new bold and visionary leader for the Ms. Foundation.

The board of directors is conducting a national search and expects to have our new president in place by the early part of 2011. They have engaged Isaacson, Miller -- a leading search firm for foundations and nonprofits, with a great track record of identifying leadership for women's and social justice organizations. The truth is, we'll need the help of all of the Foundation's colleagues and friends to find our new leader, so please look deeply within your own networks and encourage qualified candidates to apply.

Over the next six months, I'll be working to personally thank as many people as possible in the Ms. Foundation's extended community -- our founding mothers, current and former board members, current and former staff members, grantee and donor partners, and colleagues and friends -- for your partnership, and for the opportunity I have treasured for so many years to be part of both this wonderful and dynamic organization and of the social justice movements that we serve. I'll also continue to write about the Foundation's activities and impact, and about what we are learning through this organizational transition.

I know that the Foundation can count on the continued support and partnership of every single one of you, for you are as passionate as we are about creating a just and safe world in which power and possibility are not limited by gender, race, class, age, sexual orientation, disability, citizenship or any other factor. We share a deep resolve to bring about the kind of systemic and lasting change that will create a society, and a nation, in which all voices are heard and valued. We know that this can only happen through the engagement of more and more women and men, bringing forward their voices, lived experiences and solutions to the complex and intertwined problems we face.

I know that everyone at the Ms. Foundation for Women looks forward to pursuing this crucial work with you. Thank you so much for everything that you do to create the just and safe world that we all desire.

Sara K. Gould
President and CEO
The Ms. Foundation for Women

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