Ford Foundation appoints Ambassador Richard Verma on Board of Trustees

Ambassador Richard Verma. Photo: Twitter @RichardRVerma

One of the biggest and oldest foundations in the country has appointed an Indian-American to its board of trustees.

The Ford Foundation announced Oct. 15, 2021, the election of two new members of its board of trustees: former Indian-American Ambassador to India, Richard Verma, currently general counsel and head of Global Public Policy at Mastercard; and Laurene Powell Jobs, president of the Emerson Collective.

The 85-year old Ford Foundation describes itself as “an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization.” With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Verma, who brings international experience across senior levels of government, diplomacy, and law, was the U.S. ambassador to India from 2014 to 2017.

Prior to his current position at Mastercard and Ambassador to India, Verma served as assistant secretary of State for Legislative Affairs at the State Department and as national security advisor for former U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

He was also a member of the Weapons of Mass Destruction and Terrorism Commission and a co-author of the commission’s landmark report, “World at Risk.”

Verma is currently a senior fellow at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He also serves on a number of boards and commissions, including the National Endowment for Democracy, Lehigh University, and the T. Rowe Price corporate board. His father immigrated from India to the United States in 1963 so he could pursue a masters degree on a Ford Foundation fellowship.

“The Ford Foundation is at the forefront of the important fights for human rights and global equity, and I look forward to joining in this work,” Verma is quoted saying in the press release. “At this pivotal point in history, I am honored to have the opportunity to work with respected leaders at Ford to tackle inequality and advance social justice around the world,” he added.

Verma is a U.S. Air Force veteran and is the recipient of numerous military and civilian honors and awards.

He holds multiple degrees, including his Ph.D. from Georgetown University and his J.D. from American University’s Washington College of Law.

Ford Foundation trustees are elected by the full board and serve six-year terms. As a Trustee, Verma will join the others on the board to set broad policies relating to grant making, geographic focus, investments, governance, and professional standards. The board also oversees independent audits.





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