NEW YORK (October 15, 2021) – The Ford Foundation announced today the election of two new members of its board of trustees: Laurene Powell Jobs, president of the Emerson Collective, and former ambassador Richard Verma, general counsel and head of Global Public Policy at Mastercard.
As president of the Emerson Collective, Powell Jobs uses a wide range of tools—from impact investing to philanthropy to advocacy—in pursuit of a more equal and just America. Based in Palo Alto, California, with a strong presence in Oakland, Chicago, New York, and Washington, DC, Emerson focuses on creating systemic change in education, immigration, climate, cancer research and treatment.
Powell Jobs currently serves as board chair of the XQ Institute and of College Track, a college readiness and completion program she founded in 1997 to equip students from low-income communities to fulfill the promise of higher education. She also serves on the Stanford University board of trustees and the board of Chicago CRED. She is co-owner of the Atlantic, Anonymous Content, and Concordia Studio.
“Since its founding eight decades ago, the Ford Foundation has championed systemic change and fostered global movements that support the basic rights of all people,” said Powell Jobs. “The board’s leadership is impactful, strategic, and thoughtful, with a commitment to equity and inclusion. I am honored to join this group of leaders.”
Powell Jobs earned an M.B.A. from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and bachelor’s degrees in political science and economics from the University of Pennsylvania.
The board also welcomes Verma, who brings international experience across senior levels of government, diplomacy, and law. He currently serves as the general counsel and head of global public policy at Mastercard, and was the US ambassador to India from 2014 to 2017. Verma previously served as assistant secretary of State for Legislative Affairs at the US Department of State and as national security advisor for former US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. He was also a member of the Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism Commission and a co-author of the commission’s landmark report, “World at Risk.”
Verma is currently a senior fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He also serves on a number of boards and commissions, including the National Endowment for Democracy, Lehigh University, and the T. Rowe Price corporate board. His father immigrated from India to the United States in 1963 so he could pursue a masters degree on a Ford Foundation fellowship.
“The Ford Foundation is at the forefront of the important fights for human rights and global equity, and I look forward to joining in this work,” Verma said. “At this pivotal point in history, I am honored to have the opportunity to work with respected leaders at Ford to tackle inequality and advance social justice around the world.”
Verma is a US Air Force veteran and is the recipient of numerous military and civilian honors and awards. Verma holds multiple degrees, including his Ph.D. from Georgetown University and his J.D. from American University’s Washington College of Law.
“Laurene is a dedicated and powerful advocate for social justice and her work has shaped transformative change in education, immigration reform, and protecting our planet. Richard is an innovative leader who has spent his career tackling global systemic issues,” said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. “Our entire organization is fortunate to have their expertise, perspective and passion for change on our board.”
Francisco G. Cigarroa, Ford Foundation Board of Trustees Chair said, “We are honored to have Laurene Powell Jobs and Richard Verma, two experienced and trusted leaders, join the Ford Foundation board of trustees. I look forward to working with them and our existing board members in continuing Ford’s work to challenge global inequality and organize social change.”
Ford Foundation trustees are elected by the full board and serve six-year terms. Trustees set broad policies relating to grant making, geographic focus, investments, governance, and professional standards, and they oversee independent audits. The foundation’s trustees come from around the world and have extensive experience in the worlds of higher education, business and finance, technology, law, government, and the nonprofit sector.