Susan Berresford

Leadership Council Member

Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Wellesley College

Susan Berresford (she/her) is a prominent American philanthropist and former President of the Ford Foundation. She graduated from Wellesley College in 1966 with a degree in political science.

Berresford began her career in philanthropy in 1970 when she joined the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. She later served as the Director of the New York State Council on the Arts, where she worked to promote the arts throughout the state. In 1979, Berresford joined the Ford Foundation, where she held a variety of positions before becoming President in 1996.

As President of the Ford Foundation, Berresford oversaw the distribution of billions of dollars in grants to organizations working to promote social justice, economic development, and education. During her tenure, she prioritized funding for women’s rights, environmental sustainability, and cultural diversity, and also established the foundation’s International Fellowship Program, which has supported thousands of scholars from around the world.

Berresford has been recognized for her contributions to philanthropy and public service with numerous honors and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States. She continues to be an influential voice in the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors, advocating for the importance of collaboration, innovation, and social justice in addressing the world’s most pressing challenges.