Laleh Ispahani

© Jeff Hutchens for the Open Society Foundations

Laleh Ispahani is the director of the Open Society Foundations' Democracy Fund, a grantmaking program supporting initiatives that seek to ensure transparency and effective government oversight and protect the integrity of government institutions.

Ispahani is a lawyer and advocate specializing in democracy and human rights issues. Before joining the Foundations in the fall of 2008, she spent six years as senior policy counsel in the American Civil Liberties Union working on racial justice and human rights. Prior to that, she worked at the Brennan Center, on campaign finance reform, and at private law firms.

She is nationally recognized for her visionary work in leading a nationwide campaign to end felon disenfranchisement through coalition building, public education and advocacy, litigation, and federal and state executive and legislative reform. She produced a documentary film, Democracy’s Ghost, and is the author of numerous articles.

Ispahani received her bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and her law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center.