As of mid-January, Hilary Pennington has assumed the role of executive vice president for programs at the Ford Foundation, a leading job in the US philanthropy sector.
Prior to her new role, Pennington was the foundation’s vice president for Education, Creativity and Free Expression. Her new role involves oversight of all of the foundation’s global programs including its BUILD programme, a $1 billion initiative aimed at strengthening the capacity and sustainability of around 300 social justice grantees worldwide.
‘I see an opportunity to increase the effectiveness of key nonprofit sector organisations and to convince other funders that more patience and longer-term general support is the better way to go,’ she is quoted as saying.
Along with this, she wants the foundation to improve people’s experiences with cultural institutions, such as journalism, arts and education, and to deepen self-expression.
‘There’s an opportunity to take what we’re learning…to improve the quality of supports for young people, and to transform education and people’s experience of the arts so that they’re more interactive,’ she said. ‘That will allow people to express and fulfil themselves more deeply.’
In a recent interview published in American philanthropy website, Inside Philanthropy, Pennington noted that ‘my philosophy of life is to really live your life aspiring to make a positive impact.’
‘If you hit a wall, you try to find the door in that wall, or make a door in that wall.’