Open Society Foundations Announce New Executives Fund Recipients

NEW YORK—We are pleased to announce the newly selected grantees of the New Executives Fund, which provides support to executive directors and chief executive officers who show promise to grow as leaders in fields that are central to Open Society’s mission. New Executives Fund recipients receive grants ranging from $25,000 to $250,000 in discretionary support to assist in the implementation of their visions for their organizations.

New Executives Fund Recipients

Merith Basey, Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM)

Universities Allied for Essential Medicines is a nongovernmental organization comprised of student members at more than 70 top research institutions. It mobilizes to improve access to essential medicines around the world, particularly in developing countries. Merith Basey brings over a decade of experience in global public health, advocacy, and project management to UAEM. Prior to her current role, she led American Youth Understanding Diabetes Abroad (AYUDA) in strengthening local capacity in type one diabetes communities across Latin America and the Caribbean. She also cofounded the 100 Campaign, which aims to reframe insulin access as a human rights issue and reduce barriers to access.

Federico Borello, Center for Civilians in Conflict (CIVIC)

Center for Civilians in Conflict aims to establish a new international norm to respond to civilian harm beyond what is prescribed by international humanitarian law, including new rights for civilian victims of conflict and amends for collateral damage. Federico Borello brings more than 15 years of experience working on human rights and international justice issues to CIVIC, specifically in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi, Guinea, and Morocco. He previously served as director of Investments at Humanity United, and prior to this, he worked with the United Nations, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and the International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ).

Pablo Collada, Fundación Cuidadano Inteligente

Fundación Cuidadano Inteligente (Smart Citizen Foundation) is a Latin American organization based in Chile that works to strengthen democracy and reduce inequality by promoting transparency and citizen participation through the use of web technologies. Pablo Collada has worked in the social development sector for the past 15 years, with a specific focus on citizenship building and youth and community organizing projects in the public sector and the civil society arena. He led research efforts for the Lab for the City initiative in Mexico City. He also managed the creation of regional networks for international agencies to promote local government observatories, and the development and implementation of digital tools for youth participation in the Mexican context.

Glenn Harris, The Center for Social Inclusion

The Center for Social Inclusion is a national policy strategy organization that works to identify and support policy strategies to transform structural inequity and exclusion into structural fairness and inclusion in the U.S. Glenn Harris brings to CSI two decades of experience working on issues of race and social justice, most recently as the manager of the city of Seattle's Race and Social Justice Initiative, a citywide effort designed to advance racial equity. He helped start similar initiatives in jurisdictions across the country and assisted in founding the Governing for Racial Equity Network. He also established the Seattle office of the Community Police Commission. 

Kris Hayashi, Transgender Law Center (TLC)

The Transgender Law Center is one of the largest transgender-led organizations in the country advancing the rights of transgender and gender-nonconforming people nationwide. TLC aims to change law, policy, and attitudes so that all people can live safely, authentically, and free from discrimination regardless of their gender identity or expression. Prior to joining TLC, Kris Hayashi served as the co-director of the Audre Lorde Project, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, two spirit, trans, and gender-nonconforming people of color organizing center based in New York City for 10 years. He was also a trainer and organizer at Western States Center in Portland, Oregon, and executive director of Youth United for Community Action, a group in California led by young people of color organizing for social and environmental justice.

Shamil Idriss, Search for Common Ground (SFCG)

Search for Common Ground is one of the largest international nonprofit organizations focused on conflict mediation and peacebuilding. The organization works with local peace-builders and social entrepreneurs to initiate processes for societal conflict transformation.  Shamil Idriss has worked with SFCG in a variety of capacities from 1993 to 2004. Prior to returning to SFCG, he was the CEO of Soliya, a pioneer in the use of new media for cross-cultural dialogue and exchange. In 2005, he was appointed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan as deputy director of the UN Alliance of Civilizations, a project of the Secretary-General established to improve cross-cultural understanding and cooperation between Western and Muslim-majority societies.

Marcy Mistrett, Campaign for Youth Justice

Campaign for Youth Justice is a national organization dedicated exclusively to ending the practice of trying, sentencing, and incarcerating youth in the adult criminal justice system in the U.S. Marcy Mistrett started her career in juvenile justice in Chicago in the 1990s working on youth transfer issues at the University of Chicago Law School’s Mandel Clinic, the Citizen’s Committee on Juvenile Court, and as a social worker at the Evanston Community Defender Office. She has led education nonprofits in the Washington D.C. area for the past decade, and was appointed to the D.C. Juvenile Justice Advisory Group by Mayor Anthony Williams.

Asia Russell, Health Global Access Project

Health GAP is an organization of AIDS and human rights activists, people living with HIV/AIDS, public health experts, fair trade advocates, and concerned individuals who campaign against policies of neglect and greed that deny treatment to millions and fuel the spread of HIV. Asia Russell has been a leader in the fight against HIV for over 20 years. She began her career as a community organizer and AIDS treatment activist campaigning locally and nationally in Philadelphia, and for the last 16 years has worked as Health GAP’s director of international policy. She is based in Uganda, where she works in partnership with leading civil society organizations, health rights groups, networks of people living with HIV, and reproductive health and rights groups nationally and from across Eastern and Southern Africa.

Rana Yazaji, Al Mawred al Thaqafy / Culture Resource

Culture Resource is a regional, nonprofit organization based in Cairo that supports Arab artists and cultural organizations and the growth of the independent cultural sector generally through a range of services and programs. Apart from her work as a researcher, trainer, and consultant in cultural and developmental projects and communal initiatives, Rana Yazaji has worked as a cultural project manager and program director for a number of institutions, such as the General Secretariat of Damascus Capital of Culture and the Cultural Project of the Syria Trust of Development—Rawafed. In 2011, she and a group of independent cultural activists founded Ettijahat Independent Culture, which seeks to stimulate the role of culture and the arts in social and political change.