Mimi Ghez, Founder and President
Widely recognized for her creative and strategic approaches to influencing social norms and public policy, Ghez has worked with non-profits, coalitions, companies, foundations, and government agencies to develop win-win alliances for social change. These have included: an international grassroots organizing campaign called There's No Excuse for Domestic Violence that earned praise from the President of the United States; a funding collaborative called Connect U.S. involving many major U.S.-based foundations and NGOs focused on international affairs; and a global public education program and youth mobilization initiative called The People Speak: America Debates Its Role in the World.
Ghez has served as an expert on communications for social change for many branches of government - including the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the National Institute of Justice, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - and has received awards for innovation in social communications from both the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania (the Edward Palmer Award) and also from the Council on Foundations (Wilmer Shields Rich Awards). In 2000, she was selected as a White House Fellow by the President's Commission on White House Fellows, and served her fellowship year in the Office of the Secretary of the Navy at the Department of Defense. The highly competitive program is the nation's foremost initiative promoting leadership in public service.
Ghez has worked for many years in the philanthropic community, creating coalitions joining like-minded foundations for advocacy projects on a variety of issues, in order to amplify the potential for change. During her tenure as Director of the Open Society Foundations' Cooperative Global Engagement Project (a special initiative of OSF Chairman George Soros), she was one of the chief architects of a gathering of prominent foundation presidents and senior leaders at the Bedford, NY home of George Soros - designed to build a common agenda for progressive funding in the international arena. As a result of the meeting, she led the development of a strategic partnership with the United Nations Foundation to develop and launch The People Speak, an effort designed to mobilize young people around key issues of advocacy importance and to encourage civic engagement and global interaction between youth.
Ghez also co-founded a funding collaborative called The Connect U.S. Fund which was designed to provide funding and philanthropy leadership to strengthen the U.S. way of doing business in the world and to deepen its international cooperation. Other funders in the initiative included leadership at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the C.S. Mott Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Tides Foundation.
She also led the conceptualization and realization of the Connect U.S. Network, which unifies lierally thousands of internationally-oriented NGOs into a common community that would share resources, grant opportunities and collaborative priorities. Additionally, she administered an internationally- oriented grantmaking program and worked with government officials, diplomats, foundation officials, NGO leaders, and Hill staff to propose and influence public policy on many fronts.
Prior to her work at OSF, she served as Communications Director for the Family Violence Prevention Fund (now Futures Without Violence). There, she developed and directed There's No Excuse for Domestic Violence, the first national domestic violence prevention campaign, which included award-winning advertising, grassroots organizing that reached many millions with action-oriented messages, and public outreach events nationwide. The campaign was sponsored by The Advertising Council, earned a top award from the International Association of Business Communicators, and generated more than $100 million in donated media time, as well as praise from the President of the United States.
In addition, Ghez helped found the National Workplace Resource Center on Domestic Violence, a first-of-its-kind project to create more corporate stakeholders to address the special needs of working women who are battered. Through presentations and roundtables, she helped recruit founding members to the project, including Aetna Insurance, The Gap and Bank of America. The project was commended by then-Vice President Al Gore. Many of the founding members became major donors to the project.
In 2003-2004, Ghez served on the Board of Global Justice, a global student-led organization that has launched such outstanding student advocacy campaigns as the Student Global AIDS Campaign (now with 85 chapters at high schools, colleges, and universities across the United States) and the Student Trade Justice Campaign, which was launched by a grant provided to the organization under her purview at Open Society Foundations.
Ghez is also trained as a leadership coach by The Coaches Training Institute, and as a Reiki (II) practitioner by The Reiki Center of Greater Washington. She has participated in the Year of Living Mindfully with Jonathan Foust.
In addition to the following grantmaker alliances - The Council on Foundations, The Communications Network; Grantmakers for Children, Youth and Families; Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers; Disability Funders Network; and Native Americans in Philanthropy - Ghez has also participated as member/ assoicate member in the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Association of Fundraising Professionals - DC chapter, and the White House Fellows Association.