MFWA’s Director named among OSF’s New Executives Fund recipients

The Open Society Foundations (OSF) has selected the Executive Director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Sulemana Braimah, among eight other NGO Executive Directors from around the world to receive a two-year grant under the OSF’s New Executives Fund (NEF). 

The OSF, works to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people. It is one of the biggest grant making foundations in the world with OSIWA as its chapter in West Africa. 

The NEF is a new grant making initiative of the Presidential Grants Program of the OSF that aims to support newly appointed executive directors and chief executive officers who show promise to grow as leaders in fields that are central to OSF’s core mission. 

‘Executive directors come to their posts with innovative ideas, but often lack the necessary resources to execute them. We hope these grants can serve as a springboard for these leaders to jumpstart change,’ said Chris Stone, president of the OSF.

The nine recipients of the prestigious grants for 2014 were announced in a statement issued by the OSF in New York on Monday June 16, 2014. 

‘I feel delighted and privileged to be a beneficiary of this grant, and to be part of this group of leaders of highly respected nonprofits around the world that are focused on working to improve lives. The grant will indeed, contribute significantly to enhance the MFWA’s ongoing organisational development efforts,’ said Sulemana. 

Sulemana was appointed as Executive Director by the MFWA’s Board of directors in January 2014, following the retirement of Prof. Kwame Karikari, as head of the organisation. Below is the statement issued by the OSF announcing the recipients of the NEF for 2014.

New Nonprofit Leaders to Receive Boost from Open Society

NEW YORKThe Open Society Foundations today announced it will fund nine nonprofitsfrom the United States to Ghanato help their new leaders implement their vision.

‘Executive directors come to their posts with innovative ideas, but often lack the necessary resources to execute them,’ said Chris Stone, president of the Open Society Foundations. ‘We hope these grants can serve as a springboard for these leaders to jumpstart change.’

Open Society’s New Executives Fund gives organization heads with tenure of less than a year the flexibility to implement their own programs. It is the only available support of its kind for new nonprofit leaders.

‘This fund is part of Open Society’s commitment to strengthening the nonprofit sector worldwide,’ said Stone. ‘Our support during leadership transitions helps nonprofits navigate periods of change and growth.’ The current recipients represent a wide range of geographies and subject areas.

The Open Society Foundations launched the $2 million New Executives Fund last June. Leaders who show promise in fields central to Open Society’s mission are selected.

New Executives Fund Recipients
Phil Bloomer,Business & Human Rights Resource Centre 

The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre researches and disseminates information about the human rights impacts of over 5,100 companies, operating in over 180 countries. Phil Bloomer has 30 years of human rights and social justice experience in Great Britain, Latin America, and the Caribbean. He has held senior management positions with organizations such as Oxfam Great Britain, and was the global advocacy lead and chair of the principal campaign body of Oxfam International.

Sulemana Braimah,Media Foundation for West Africa
The Media Foundation for West Africa works to promote, defend, and protect, freedom of expression for media, communication professionals, and human rights defenders. Sulemana Braimah is an expert in media and human rights issues, has facilitated workshops at the Pan-African Conference on Access to Information, and serves on the governing council of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange.

Jennifer Epps-Addison, Wisconsin Jobs Now 
Wisconsin Jobs Now is a nonprofit organization committed to fighting income inequality from the bottom up and building stronger communities throughout Wisconsin. The organization’s youngest executive director, Jennifer Epps-Addison, brings 15 years of advocacy experience. She was the lead organizer behind Milwaukee’s historic MORE Ordinance, a campaign which won the city of Milwaukee top prize in the National League of Cities’ Cultural Diversity Awards.

Carlos Garcia, Puente 
Puente is part of the global movement for migrant justice and human rights, working to empower migrant communities and build bridges with various organizations and individuals. Carlos Garcia has an extensive career in grassroots mobilization and advocacy, including as a labor organizer with United Food and Commercial Workers. In 2007, he helped create Puente and has since become a key voice in the national struggle against retrograde immigration enforcement policies and practices.

Jose Guevara, Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights 

The Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights strives to defend human rights through strategic litigation, information, and collaboration with individuals, state institutions, and international organizations. Jose Guevara has a mix of government, academic, and NGO experience. He has held positions as the human rights minister at the Permanent Mission of Mexico to the UN and deputy director general for human rights and democracy at the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Steve Hawkins, Amnesty International USA
Amnesty International USA strives to ensure that every personregardless of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identityenjoys all of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other internationally recognized human rights standards. Steve Hawkins brings a wide breath of experience following his time as vice president and chief program officer at the NAACP and executive director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Dealt Penalty.

Thomas Hughes, Article 19
Article 19 campaigns with activists around the world to ensure the freedom of expression and access to information are protected as fundamental human rights. Thomas Hughes brings 15 years of experience advocating for press freedom, media development, and human rights issues. He joins Article 19 following his positions as deputy director of international media support and founder of Media Frontiers, an organization which runs an international advertising network for online news media from human rights repressed countries.

Adrian Lupusor, Expert-Grup
Expert-Grup is a Moldovan nongovernmental organization that specializes in economic research and works to promote the public interest and advancement of Moldova’s development. Adrian Lupusor has been involved with the Expert-Grup in a variety of capacities, most recently as programs director. He has helped Expert-Grup become Moldova’s premier economic think tank by tackling some of the country’s most pressing geopolitical issues, including analyzing the benefits of joining the EU and the impact of a Russia-led Customs Union.

Nicholas Turner, The Vera Institute of Justice
The Vera Institute of Justice combines expertise in research, demonstration projects, and technical assistance to help leaders in government and civil society improve the systems people rely on for justice and safety. Nick Turner returns to Vera following his time as a managing director at The Rockefeller Foundation, where he was a member of the senior leadership team and a co-leader of its global urban efforts. He provided strategic direction on initiatives such as transportation policy reform in the United States to promote social, economic, and environmental interests, and redevelopment in New Orleans to advance racial and socioeconomic integration.

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