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Soros’ Open Society Foundations Offer Boost to New Nonprofit Execs

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Leadership transitions in nonprofit organizations can be both a challenging and a promising time for an organization. New leaders come in with innovative projects, but often face internal barriers and a lack of resources.

George SorosLast week, the Open Society Foundations, founded by George Soros (left) in 1979, announced an initiative to provide key financial support for a new generation of leaders around the world to enable them to implement their initiatives.

The New Executives Fund is designed to give new leaders the discretionary support to implement the ideas that got them hired in the first place. It is the only available support of its kind for nonprofit leaders at the outset of their tenure, according to Open Society.

“New leaders share a common experience of deferring their visions because they are bound by constraints,” Chris Stone, Open Society’s president, said in a statement.

“We want to avoid this problem. Periods of transition for nonprofits should be fertile moments for positive change and growth and help inject new vitality into an organization.”

The inaugural cohort of the fund includes leaders from around the globe whose organizations are advancing a range of human rights and social justice issues, the statement said. Organizations will receive a two-year grant, which will be allocated at the executive director’s discretion.

The Open Society Foundations have made individual decisions in the past to support new directors, including those at the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the PEN American Center this year. The New Executives Fund will make this kind of support a regular part of its mission to help build a new generation of nonprofit leadership, the statement said.

Soros has contributed upward of $8 billion to the Open Society Foundations over the past three decades.

Following are the new Executives Fund recipients and their organizations:

Brad Brockman

Equal Education works for quality and equality in South African education. Brad Brockman was elected to the position of general secretary of Equal Education in July 2012.

Andrea Coomber

JUSTICE is an all-party law reform organization promoting access to justice, human rights and the rule of law, and encourages improvements to the U.K. legal system through research, education and intervention in the courts. Andrea Coomber has been the director of JUSTICE since February.

Soe Naing

International HIV/AIDS Alliance in Myanmar focuses on promoting the health and rights of people living with, and most affected by, HIV, including female sex workers and men who have sex with men. Soe Naing joined the alliance as executive director in May.

Oluwakemi Okenyodo

The CLEEN Foundation in Nigeria was established with the mission to promote public safety, security and accessible justice. Oluwakemi Okenyodo became executive director in February.

Christine Stegling

International Treatment Preparedness Coalition aims to secure universal access to HIV and related co-infection treatment, care, support and prevention services for all people living with HIV. Christine Stegling joined the coalition as executive director in May.

Gábor Attila Tóth

Hungarian Civil Liberties Union strives to educate citizens about their basic human rights and freedoms, and takes a stand against undue interference and misuse of power by those in positions of authority. Gábor Attila Tóth became executive director on Jan. 1.

John Wadham

INTERIGHTS is an international legal human rights NGO. John Wadham joined INTERIGHTS as executive director in February.

Check out Soros, Foundation Center Document Philanthropic Support for Black Males on AdvisorOne.