Addressing Complaints

The Open Society Foundations expect that employees and others acting on the Foundations’ behalf operate in a manner that is fair, respectful, and cooperative with those the Foundations are intended to serve. Complaints about abuse of authority by the Open Society Foundations, including Open Society programs and national or regional foundations, or by members of Open Society boards or staff should be addressed to an Open Society Foundations ombudsperson at [email protected].

The types of complaints about abuses of authority that should be addressed to an ombudsperson include rudeness, negligence, invidious political or personal favoritism or bias, dishonesty, or other misfeasance in the Open Society Foundations’ dealing with grantees, grant applicants, partner organizations, or the general public. An ombudsperson does not deal with employee grievances, which should be addressed to supervisors or Open Society’s Human Resources Department.

An ombudsperson is an advisor to the president and Global Board of the Open Society Foundations, and does not function either as a judge or a prosecutor. The principal responsibilities of an ombudsperson include investigating complaints, facilitating resolution of disputes, identifying particular abuses or patterns of abuse that warrant attention by the president or Global Board, and making recommendations to the president and/or Global Board that are intended to stop or reduce abuses.

Because of the Open Society Foundations’ global scope and complexity, the President has authorized the appointment of more than one ombudsperson, each with distinct geographical responsibilities. When necessary because of ambiguity or because of potentially overlapping jurisdiction, the Foundations’ general counsel shall determine the appropriate ombudsperson to consider a specific complaint. The ombudspersons will also collaborate and work together where appropriate.

George Vickers serves as ombudsperson for the Americas, covering the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Thierno Kane serves as ombudsperson for Africa and the Middle East. Annette Laborey serves as ombudsperson for Europe and Asia.

The ombudspersons can be reached via email at [email protected].