News About Former Foundation Staff, Winter 2019
Franklin A. Thomas, a former president of the Ford Foundation, was one of 14 people honored by Lewis and Clark Community College for “the work they did in creating our modern country”.
Their lives and work were acclaimed as part of the observance of Black History Month by the college in Godfrey, Ill.
The school blended the accomplishments of the individuals honored with several events to “acknowledge all the contributions that have been forgotten or were largely left out of the textbooks of the 1970s and 1980s”.
Thomas, the first African American to be president of the Foundation, led Ford from 1979 to 1996, and since then has been active on the boards of several major corporations and organizations, including the TFF Study Group, a nonprofit organization dedicated to development in South Africa.
In 2003, Fortune magazine named Thomas one of four “kingmakers” in corporate America, noting that his role on the boards of many corporations gave him the “power to make other people powerful”.
In honoring Thomas, Lewis and Clark cited one of his statements: “Our descendants will think it incredible that we paid so much attention to things like the amount of melanin in our skin or the shape of our eyes or our gender instead of the unique identities of each of us as complex human beings.”
Lisa Jordan, who was deputy director of Ford’s Governance and Civil Society Unit from 2000 to 2009, has been named chair of the board of directors of Enviu, a nonprofit founded in 2004 to help develop an “inclusive economy that serves people and planet”.
To further its objective, Enviu, headquartered in Rotterdam in The Netherlands, builds “social multinationals that address social and environmental issues, and drive market development”. It works with companies with “high impact in the domains of financial inclusion, circular economy and food systems”.
Jordan had been chairman of the organization’s advisory board.
“Enviu is trying to do something that is becoming more relevant and more popular right now,” Jordan said. “And if anybody is doing it with integrity, it is this shop. And their approach matches the way that I tend to think about things, which is a very holistic way. Not only from the shareholder approach, which is how impact investing works, not only from the social entrepreneur approach, which is how the social enterprise scene works, but combining these two.”
Jordan was a founding director of Global Legislatures for a Balanced Economy (GLOBE) before joining Ford, and then was director of strategy and learning at Porticus and a partner in Aim for Social Change.
Devana Cohen has been promoted to chief investment officer of the UJA-Federation of New York.
Cohen, who worked at the Ford Foundation from 2009 to 2012 as its Associate Director for Public Markets, had been the organization’s investment officer.
UJA is the largest local philanthropy in the world. It supports nearly 100 health, human-services, educational and community-building agencies and dozens of grantees in some 70 countries. Its stated mission is to “care for people in need, inspire a passion for Jewish life and learning and strengthen Jewish communities in New York, Israel and around the world”.
It was created in 1986 through the merger of the United Jewish Appeal, which was founded in 1939, and the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, established in 1917.