Susan Berresford

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Person.png Susan Berresford  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
(philanthropist, spook?)
Susan Berresford.png
Alma materVassar College, Brearley School, Radcliffe College
Member ofCouncil on Foreign Relations/Members, Trilateral Commission
President of the Ford Foundation

Susan Vail Berresford[1] is an American foundation executive. She was the president of the Ford Foundation from 1996-2007.[2] Since November 2008 she has worked as a philanthropy consultant out of the offices of The New York Community Trust.[3]

Berresford is a member of the Trilateral Commission and was on the Boards of the Chase Manhattan Corporation and the Hermine and Robert Popper Foundation.[4] She serves as an advisory board member of the Trinidad Trust Fund (California), and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is a trustee of The California Endowment and the Kaiser Family Foundation. She is the convener of the U.S.–Vietnam Dialogue Group on Agent Orange/Dioxin.[5]


Susan Vail Berresford was born in 1943 and attended the Brearley School in New York City. She attended Vassar College for two years and then transferred to study American history at Radcliffe College, where she graduated cum laude in 1965.[6][7]


Berresford served as a program officer for the Neighborhood Youth Corps from 1965 until 1967. In 1967-68, she worked for the Manpower Career Development Agency.[8]

Berresford joined the Ford Foundation in 1970, during the Cold War when it was known as a conduit for CIA money, as a project assistant in the Division of National Affairs. Between 1972 and 1980 she served as a program officer in that division. In 1980 she was named officer in charge of the Foundation's Women's programs. She became vice president for the Foundation's U.S. and International Affairs programs in 1981, and subsequently served as vice president of the Program Division in charge of worldwide programming. She later became Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Foundation before being elected the first female president of the Foundation on April 3, 1996.[9]

“The program we designed [the Ford Foundation International Fellowship Program], which we're funding to the tune of $300 million — the largest single grant in the history of the foundation — is just wrapping up its first year. Over the next ten years, it will support about thirty-five hundered people around the world for up to three years of graduate study. And we hope they will not only take advantage of this opportunity — paid in full, anywhere in the world — but that they will return to their home countries and begin to function effectively as leaders. Eventually, we think that out of this group will emerge some extraordinary world leaders — at least we hope so. We do need to be thinking consciously about where the next generation of world leaders is going to come from.”
Susan Berresford (May 28, 2002)  [10]
Berresford is president of the Ford Foundation, known for its historical cooperation with the CIA

In 2003, she co-founded the United States Artists and is currently a trustee. In 2019, the philanthropic foundation founded the Berresford Prize which recognizes a cultural practitioner for their work for artists.[11][12]

Berresford joined the U.S. Fund for UNICEF's national Board in October 2008.[13]

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