NEW YORK—The Open Society Foundations announced today that Patrick H. Gaspard, the U.S. ambassador to South Africa and former senior advisor to President Obama, will join the philanthropy as vice president of programs starting January 9, 2017.
Ambassador Gaspard will oversee the Open Society Foundations’ advocacy work in Washington and Brussels, as well as provide strategic direction and oversight to the organization’s programmatic agenda. He will take on a public role to advance the network’s mission, strategies, and activities. Gaspard will report directly to Chris Stone, the president of the Open Society Foundations.
“Patrick Gaspard’s deep experience in policy and politics, along with his energy and commitment to social justice, are great assets to help further the Open Society Foundations’ mission to build vibrant and tolerant democracies,” Stone said. “He will be a great addition to our leadership team and help us build upon our great work here in the United States and around the world.”
Ambassador Gaspard brings nearly two decades of distinguished and high level public service. As the U.S. ambassador to South Africa from 2013 to 2016, Gaspard worked to strengthen civil society and worked in partnership with the South African government to develop the country’s healthcare infrastructure and to support innovations in local governance. He also worked to connect South African entrepreneurs to U.S. markets; develop clean, renewable, and efficient energy technologies; and to end wildlife trafficking.
Ambassador Gaspard served as the executive director of the Democratic National Committee from 2011 to 2013. He was assistant to the president and director of the White House Office of Political Affairs from 2009 to 2011. He was the national political director for Obama for America in 2008. Gaspard also was the executive vice president and political director for the Service Employees International Union. He has deep experience in both presidential and New York City politics.
Gaspard’s position at the Open Society Foundations is a new one, part of a streamlining of the organization begun under Stone’s leadership. The Open Society Foundations have more than 40 national foundations and regional and thematic programs, working in more than 120 countries.