Sherrilyn Ifill Appointed Board Chair of U.S. Programs at the Open Society Foundations

NEW YORK—The Open Society Foundations today announced that Sherrilyn Ifill, a legal scholar on race and justice, has been appointed board chair of U.S. Programs. A professor at the University of Maryland School of Law since 1993, Ifill teaches and writes on the importance of judicial diversity and impartiality in judicial decision-making.

She previously served on the boards of U.S. Programs and the Open Society Institute-Baltimore.

“We are delighted that Sherrilyn Ifill is playing a bigger role at the Open Society Foundations as board chair of U.S. Programs. Her expertise, insight, and vision will strengthen our ability to confront head on the many challenges we face today,” said Aryeh Neier, president of the Open Society Foundations.

Ifill’s book, On the Courthouse Lawn: Confronting the Legacy of Lynching in the 21st Century, published in 2007, exposed how racial violence remains part of America’s social fabric. Before joining the University of Maryland faculty, Ifill was assistant counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in New York, where she litigated voting rights cases. During her tenure at Maryland law school, Professor Ifill has continued to litigate and consult on cases on behalf of low-income and minority communities.

“I welcome the opportunity to help shape the agenda of the Open Society Foundations, which play a vital role in efforts to strengthen democracy and to promote justice and equality in the United States," said Ifill.

Active in more than 70 countries, the Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. Working with local communities, the Open Society Foundations support justice and human rights, freedom of expression, and access to public health and education.