Bess Rothenberg

Senior Director, Strategy & Learning at Ford Foundation

Bess Rothenberg

Bess Rothenberg

Senior Director, Strategy & Learning at Ford Foundation

Biography

Bess Rothenberg leads the foundation’s office of Strategy and Learning. She works closely with all ten global offices to strengthen Ford’s capacity as a learning institution and ensure that learning and strategy are deeply embedded in all of its work.

Before joining the foundation in 2016, Bess served as deputy director of research and evaluation at Wellspring Advisors. In that role, she led strategic planning for international and US-based human rights work. Earlier, Bess was senior program officer for Africa at the International Women’s Health Coalition, and associate director of grants at the American Jewish World Service. She has also served as assistant professor of applied sociology and African studies at Clemson University, and as associate director with Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Human Rights.

Bess earned a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Virginia. She was a Fulbright doctoral fellow at Humboldt University in Berlin, and earned her B.A. in sociology from Boston University.

Overview
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President at Ford Foundation

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International Program Director, Gender, Racial & Ethnic Justice, Director, Southern Africa at Ford Foundation

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Former Deputy Vice President Program Management at Ford Foundation

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Chief Investment Officer & Vice President at Ford Foundation

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Chief Operating Officer at Ford Foundation

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Vice President, Secretary & General Counsel at Ford Foundation

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Director, Andean Region at Ford Foundation

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Head of Real Estate at Ford Foundation

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Director, Public Investments at Ford Foundation

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Director, Public Engagement & Outreach at Ford Foundation

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Bess Rothenberg
Senior Director, Strategy & Learning at Ford Foundation
Career History
Senior Director, Strategy & Learning
2016 - Current

The Ford Foundation supports visionary leaders and organizations on the frontlines of social change worldwide. We believe all people should have the opportunity to reach their full potential, contribute to society, and have voice in the decisions that affect them. We believe the best way to achieve these goals is to encourage initiatives by those living and working closest to where problems are located; to promote collaboration among the nonprofit, government and business sectors; and to ensure participation by men and women from diverse communities and all levels of society. In our experience, such activities help build common understanding, enhance excellence, enable people to improve their lives and reinforce their commitment to society. We work mainly by making grants or loans that build knowledge and strengthen organizations and networks. Since our financial resources are modest compared with societal needs, we focus on key problem areas and program strategies. Created with gifts and bequests by Edsel and Henry Ford, the foundation is an independent, nonprofit, nongovernmental organization, with its own board, and is entirely separate from the Ford Motor Company. The trustees of the foundation set policy and delegate authority to the president and senior staff for the foundation’s grant making and operations. Program officers in the United States, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America explore opportunities to pursue the foundation’s goals, formulate strategies and recommend proposals for funding.

Other Affiliations

Bess Rothenberg is affiliated with Ford Foundation

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