Eric K. Ward works on the Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Justice team. His grant making has supported the consolidation of progress achieved in combating inequality and promoted the dismantling of institutional discrimination and other barriers to full participation that racial and ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples continue to experience in society.
Eric has a long and distinguished career as a social justice advocate, working over the past 20 years with local, state, and national organizations to implement strategies for change around racial justice and immigrant rights. Before joining the foundation in 2014, he was a program executive for Reconciliation and Human Rights, United States, at the Atlantic Philanthropies, where he helped guide US grant making in the areas of immigration, national security and rights, and civic participation and engagement.
Previously, Eric served as national field director for the Center for New Community, a national civil rights organization based in Chicago. He also served as publisher and contributor for Imagine 2050, supervising a daily blog exploring race, immigration, and American identity through politics, narratives, culture, and sports. He has served on the boards of America’s Voice, Western States Center, the McKenzie River Gathering Foundation, and A Territory Resource Foundation.
Originally from Los Angeles, Eric attended the University of Oregon, where he began his organizing career assisting in the formation of over 100 local human rights organizations in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wyoming at a time when the white supremacist movement was engaged in violent paramilitary activity that sought to undermine minority rights and the democratic process in the Pacific Northwest. During this period, he was one of a handful of prominent leaders of color working to counter this new manifestation of organized hate and, through his work, successfully encouraged violent neo-Nazi youth to renounce racism and violence.