Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Supply and Demand at Foundations

This looks like a great move for the Ford Foundation:
The Ford Foundation has selected a dark-horse candidate with little experience in institutional philanthropy as its new president.

Luis A. Ubiñas, who has worked for McKinsey & Company, the consulting firm, for 18 years, will lead the organization, the nation’s second-largest foundation, with $11 billion in assets.

Mr. Ubiñas’s appointment, to be announced today, is expected to stun the nonprofit world, which has been speculating about who in the field would succeed Susan V. Berresford, Ford’s influential leader for more than a decade, when she retires in January.

Increasingly, however, high-profile nonprofit jobs are going to people who have done well in the business world or in politics, a reflection on the pressure on charities and foundations to become more accountable.

I would not discount the role of the supply side of this market--talented people like Ubiñas are likely to see his new job as very similar to his old job, and over time, they have been making themselves more available to the non-profit world.

From my vantage point, this trend will continue as current generations of students make their way through the workforce. To a greater degree than past generations, they will spend some of their time in the private sector and some of it in the public and non-profit sectors, focusing on the skills they are developing that are applicable to similar challenges in all fields.

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