New York, December 20, 2021 — The Ford Foundation today announced the appointment of Sarita Gupta as its next vice president for US programs. Gupta will assume her new role in early 2022, succeeding Maria Torres-Springer who has been appointed to serve as New York City’s Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development.
“I am delighted to announce that Sarita Gupta, a widely respected and gifted leader with deep expertise in policy and movement-building, will be promoted from her current role to succeed Maria Torres-Springer as vice president for US programs,” said Ford Foundation president Darren Walker. “Sarita’s decades of experience on the frontlines and people management skills will be invaluable as she leads our efforts to fight inequality in all its forms across the country, building upon the groundwork Maria has laid to mobilize significant resources in support of the communities we serve in this critical time. I thank Maria for her tireless leadership and dedication to public service, and I’m thrilled to welcome Sarita into her new role.”
“I’m humbled and honored that the foundation has entrusted me to take the baton and move its mission to reduce inequality in all its forms to the next stage,” said Gupta. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to expand my focus, bringing what I’ve learned from the frontlines as well as during my time here at Ford as I embrace this new role."
Gupta joined the foundation in 2019 as director of the Future of Work(ers) program, bringing more than two decades experience working to expand people’s ability to take collective action to improve their workplaces, communities, and lives by creating meaningful solutions. She is a nationally recognized expert on the economic, labor, and political issues affecting workers, and is widely acknowledged as a key leader and strategist for building coalitions and policies that protect, and advance the rights of workers.
During her tenure at Ford she spearheaded the launch of several far-reaching initiatives, including the $50 million CARE Fund and $25 million grant to support informal workers across the globe. She has a long history of working on the national level to break down barriers to economic opportunity for all people, which has been increasingly crucial as the US struggles to rebuild equitably amidst an uneven economic recovery from COVID-19.
“Sarita is an extraordinary leader and champion for working families across America, with deep expertise in economic, labor, democracy and immigration issues,” said Hilary Pennington, Ford Foundation executive vice president for programs. “We are incredibly grateful to have an exceptional colleague like Sarita to carry our US work forward.”
Gupta previously served as executive director of Jobs With Justice, an organization that has been on the frontlines of successful organizing and policy campaigns to boost wages and working conditions for all working people, ensure worker voice and dignity in workplaces, and improve labor and civil rights protections for immigrant men and women. There, she led a network of 30+ labor and community coalitions that anchored campaigns, changed the conversation, and moved labor, community, student, and faith voices into action.
She was also co-director of Caring Across Generations, where she spearheaded the campaign calling for policy solutions that create a much-needed care infrastructure to provide high-quality, affordable options for individuals and families, support for family caregivers, and the care workforce. Caring Across Generations was instrumental in paving the way for the Home Care Rule, an effort to provide minimum wage and overtime protections for two million home care workers.
Gupta earned a Bachelor of Arts from Mount Holyoke College, with studies in women, health, and society. She has served on the boards of several organizations, including Restaurant Opportunities Center United, the International Labor Rights Forum, and General Services Foundation. She currently sits on the boards of Labor Network for Sustainability, Institute for Policy Studies, United States Student Association Foundation, All Above All, School of Labor and Urban Studies Foundation at CUNY, and WILL Empower (Women In Labor Leadership). A Hunt Alternatives Fund Prime Movers Fellow and a graduate of the Rockwood Leadership Training Program, Gupta has received a number of awards and accolades, including the National Women’s Law Center Annual Leadership Award, the Francis Perkins Open Door Award, Mount Holyoke College Alumnae Achievement Award, and Corporate Ethics International’s BENNY Award.
Torres-Springer will assume her new role as Deputy Mayor in early January 2022. During her time with the Ford Foundation, Torres-Springer directed the deployment of hundreds of millions of dollars across the US, including major initiatives to provide resources to mission-driven organizations in the US South, invest in individuals and organizations working to advance racial equity, and helped build an ecosystem of organizations working to safeguard democracy. Torres-Springer’s leadership across the field of philanthropy has also helped mobilize significant resources in support of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
“It has been an honor of a lifetime to serve at Ford during one of the most challenging moments that our country has seen in generations, and I am incredibly proud of the work that we have been able to accomplish,” said Torres-Springer. “I believe Sarita’s experience and effectiveness at the foundation and beyond, advocating for positive change and keeping people at the center of her work, will enable her to bring this work forward at a time when economic justice and an equitable recovery for all is needed more than ever.”