SAN FRANCISCO, July 15, 2014 (PRNewswire-USNewswire)—Today, the Women's Foundation of California announced that Surina Khan, who has worked for the past 20 years as a leader in philanthropy, women's rights and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) rights, will become the next CEO effective September 15.
The Women's Foundation of California, with offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles, strives to increase the economic security of low-income women and families. It is among the world's longest-standing women's funds, is governed by a statewide board, and has an operating budget of $7 million and $10 million in assets. For the past 35 years the Women's Foundation of California has pioneered the use of strategic investments, women's leadership development and public policy to elevate issues such as domestic violence, reproductive rights and the impact of California's budget cuts on safety net programs.
“We are thrilled to appoint Surina Khan as our next CEO,” said Gretchen Sandler, chair of the Board of Directors. “She brings extensive experience advancing gender equity and women's rights in the public and private philanthropic sectors as well as the non-profit sector. She will be an inspiring leader who will help the Foundation to realize its mission of advancing the economic security of low-income women and families.”
Surina is currently a Director in the Democracy, Rights and Justice Program at the Ford Foundation. She was recruited to Ford in 2011 as a Program Officer to design and launch Ford's first LGBT Rights Initiative. She was then promoted to Director of Gender Rights and Equality overseeing Ford's work in three global grantmaking initiatives: Women's Rights, LGBT Rights and HIV/AIDS. Most recently Surina served as Ford's Interim Director of Democratic Participation and Governance, overseeing the Foundation's work to promote electoral reform, strengthen civic participation and promote accountable government.
Prior to working with the Ford Foundation, Surina spent six years at the Women's Foundation of California, where as Vice President of Programs, she oversaw all programs, including grantmaking, capacity building, policy advocacy and program evaluation. She has also held numerous leadership positions in human rights advocacy, research and publishing.
Surina and her family came to the United States from Pakistan when she was five years old. Growing up in an immigrant family, Surina saw firsthand the ways that inequalities persist, which contributed to her curiosity and passion to do work concerned with righting wrongs.
“I'm excited to rejoin the Women's Foundation of California and have the opportunity to work with all of the Foundation's stakeholders to address key interconnected issues affecting the economic security of women and families in California. California is at the forefront of innovation. We have incredible talent and resources in this state, and at the same time, we still have problems to solve. When 1 in 3 single moms is still living in poverty, there is a great deal of work to be done,” said Surina. “At the same time, we must do more than focus on the problems. We have an opportunity to engage people in California about the power we hold — by coming together, being strategic, and working boldly — to make systemic, long-lasting change. In today's world, no progressive issue can move forward without women's voices and leadership.”
Follow Surina @surinakhan