Patrick Gaspard is president of the Open Society Foundations, the world’s largest private funder of independent groups working for justice, democratic governance, and human rights. He joined the Foundations as vice president in 2017.
Previously, Gaspard served as the U.S. ambassador to South Africa from 2013 to 2016. Gaspard has had a dynamic career at the intersection of government, political campaigns, and social justice movements. He was the White House director of political affairs, the executive director of the Democratic National Committee, and the national political director for Obama for America in 2008.
Beginning his career as a union organizer in New York City, Gaspard was the executive vice president and political director for the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 1199, and political director for the national SEIU. He also served as a senior aide to former New York City mayor David Dinkins. He is proudest of his contributions to campaigns to end police brutality, mobilizations to increase access to affordable health care, and his efforts to increase dignity for working families.
Gaspard received an honorary doctorate from Columbia University.