Laleh Ispahani

Managing Director, Open Society-U.S., Open Society Foundations

I am the managing director of Open Society Foundation's U.S. Program (Open Society-U.S.), a private philanthropy working with organizations and individuals who seek to address profound racial, economic, and political inequalities, while funding efforts to prepare for the policy challenges of the future.
I work with the Program's Executive Director to set strategic direction, manage budget, and personnel for a 95-person team that supports civil society organizations taking on challenges and seizing opportunities on issues of democracy, equality, criminal justice and foreign policy. I have expertise in U.S. democracy issues, having previously directed the Program's work in the area - expanding the right to vote and access to the ballot; maintaining an independent judiciary; curtailing the influence of money in politics; and seeking to preserve a rights-respecting technology sector.
Before joining the Open Society Foundations in 2008, I spent spent six years as senior policy counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union working on racial justice and human rights, issues that dominate the U.S. landscape today.
I am currently engaged in the U.S. civil society response to COVID-19, the fight for racial justice, a safe national election this November, and related and complex issues of technology and society.
I serve on boards focused on issues of civic participation and economic liberties.
I was raised in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Iran, and now live in New York City with a Finnish partner and a delightful 13 year old.

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