The Ford Foundation announced today that Thomas L. Kempner Jr. has been elected to serve as a member of the Board of Trustees.

Kempner co-founded Davidson Kempner Capital Management LP in 1984, a global institutional investment management firm with over $33 billion in assets under management. He retired in 2019 as executive managing member.

Prior to co-founding Davidson Kempner, he worked as an associate at Goldman Sachs & Co.; was a vice president of Loeb Partners, where he traded a bond arbitrage portfolio and headed the firm’s money market department; and was a vice president of First City Capital Corporation, where he traded a fixed-income portfolio.

Kempner’s asset management expertise and investment acumen will be critical to the foundation whose endowment supports, in perpetuity, the advancement of social justice movements around the world.

“Tom will be an invaluable addition to the Ford Foundation board,” said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. “He offers decades of financial insight and global market expertise as well as a long history of dedicated philanthropic support for issues closely aligned with the foundation’s priorities. I look forward to working with him.”

Francisco G. Cigarroa, chair of the Board of Trustees, said, “The board is elated that Tom will be joining the foundation as our newest trustee. He not only will provide expert leadership in managing our endowment, essential to assuring the strength of our grantmaking into the future, but also in our collective efforts to eliminate inequality and advance social justice. Tom is a wonderful person and I know he will inspire our board and staff to do their very best!”

Kempner established the Thomas L. Kempner Jr. Foundation Inc., through which he and his family support organizations working in the fields of education, environment, and performing arts. Kempner is Chairman of the Board of the Central Park Conservancy and serves on the boards of the Harlem Village Academies, the Harvard Management Company, the Mount Sinai Health System, and the USA Cycling Development Foundation. He is also on the investment committee of St. Bernard’s School in New York City.

“I am honored to join the Ford Foundation’s board and for the opportunity to help steer an organization making such a marked impact in communities around the world,” Kempner said. “I look forward to working with the board and staff to support the foundation’s mission to reduce poverty and injustice and advance human achievement.”

Kempner graduated from the Harvard Business School with distinction, and from Yale College with a major in computer science, magna cum laude.

Kempner will assume his seat on the board in July of this year. Ford Foundation trustees are elected by its board for terms of six years. Trustees set broad policy relating to grantmaking, geographic focus, investments, governance, and professional standards, and they oversee internal and independent audits. The foundation’s trustees hail from four continents and have extensive experience in the worlds of higher education, business and finance, technology, law, government, and the nonprofit sector.

The Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent organization working to address inequality and build a future grounded in justice. For more than 85 years, it has supported visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. Today, with an endowment of $16 billion, the foundation has headquarters in New York and 10 regional offices across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

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