16 December 2010

Join Me in Welcoming Anika Rahman, Our Next President

I am writing today to share some wonderful news. After an extensive and exciting national search, the Ms. Foundation for Women has selected our new president and CEO. Anika Rahman will be joining the Ms. Foundation in February. On behalf of the board I want to introduce you to Anika and share with you why we are so excited about her combination of experience, perspective, track record and passion.

Driven by a vision of a world with justice and equality for all women, Anika is a passionate advocate for social justice and human dignity. She has spent her life and dedicated her career to fighting for women's rights and is especially passionate about reproductive rights, health access and equality under the law. Born in Bangladesh, raised there as well as in Pakistan by three strong women, and educated in the United States, Anika has a powerful perspective on the many facets of social inequity and the work of creating social justice. We loved it when she told us "fighting for women's rights is in my DNA."

She will be coming to the Ms. Foundation after six years as president of Americans for UNFPA, a leading national organization focused on promoting the United Nations Population Fund in the United States. The UNFPA works in over 150 countries, is the largest multilateral source of such assistance and an anchor for women's equality throughout the world. In her work at Americans for UNFPA, Anika significantly enhanced fundraising, grew the budget dramatically, negotiated a $37 million bequest for UNFPA and Americans for UNFPA, increased the organization's capacity to deliver on its mission, developed a comprehensive policy agenda and frequently contributed commentary to both traditional and social media.

Earlier in her career, Anika served as director of International Programs for the Center for Reproductive Rights where she helped women around the world fight for equality and legal protections. She also led the Center's policy team to gain important experience in the connections between advocacy, legal and communication strategies to effect change. Her direct experiences partnering with grassroots advocates to fight for women's health and rights in forums ranging from the halls of Congress, the United Nations and to the court of public opinion prepared her to recognize the many pathways that must be navigated to create social change. Anika earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and a Juris Doctorate from Columbia Law School.

Anika will work closely with the board and Interim President Susan Wefald to ensure a smooth transition and continued impact. Susan is looking forward to returning to her role as chief operating officer. The board thanks Susan for her many years of dedication to the Ms. Foundation and her willingness to lead the organization while we looked for our next president and CEO. We invite you to meet Anika online. We will be hosting a series of events and coffee sessions and hope you will have the opportunity to meet Anika personally in the New Year.

Thanks to the leadership of Sara K. Gould, Susan Wefald and the incredible work of our staff and our partners, the Ms. Foundation is in a strong position to address core social justice issues and to engage an even larger group of advocates, donors and partners. With our endowment now over $26 million (near our peak), an incredible community of social justice donors, a decades-long track record of impact, partnership with over 150 innovative grassroots grantees and a talented staff, we are ready to welcome and leverage new leadership.

Together we will stand for and with social justice trailblazers in the fight for changes like good paying jobs, reproductive health, ending violence against women and girls and the inclusion of women at all decision-making tables.

Together we will work toward a nation in which power and possibility are not limited by gender, race, class or any other factor.

Cathy Raphael

Chair, Board of Directors
Ms. Foundation for Women

More about Anika. Statement from Anika Rahman. Profile of Anika Rahman.

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