The Ford Foundation recently appointed Hilary Pennington as its first executive vice president. Previously the Ford Foundation’s vice president of education, creativity and free expression after joining in 2013, she is known for helping lead the launch of the five-year, $5 billion BUILD initiative which invested in the sustainability and capacity of 300 social justice organizations around the world. In her new position, Pennington will now oversee all of the foundation’s programs domestically and internationally. She first came to the Ford Foundation from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, where she worked for almost twelve years as director of education, postsecondary success and special initiatives. Earlier in her career, Pennington served for over 20 years as president and CEO of Jobs for the Future (JFF), leading it to become one of the most influential education and workforce development organizations in the nation.
“Hilary is exceptionally well-suited to lead our programming as we focus on addressing the systems and forces that drive inequality,” said the Ford Foundation president, Darren Walker. “Her strategic vision, deep experience, and calm and effective management style are invaluable assets for the Ford Foundation. I am confident that this new leadership role—with Hilary in it—will make the foundation more effective at serving the organizations on the frontlines of social change.”
Pennington graduated from Yale University’s School of Management and holds a graduate degree in social anthropology from Oxford University. She also obtained a master’s degree in theological studies from Episcopal Divinity School.