NEW YORK – The Ford Foundation announced today the appointments of Anita Khashu as its next program director for Gender, Racial and Ethnic Justice – U.S. (GREJ-U.S.) and Chi-hui Yang as its next program director for Creativity & Free Expression (CFE). Both assumed their new roles in January 2024, succeeding Tanya Coke and Margaret Morton, respectively.  

“Anita Khashu and Chi-hui Yang have been exceptional leaders throughout their respective careers and during their time at the Ford Foundation. I am excited to see how they will expand their impact in these new roles,” said Hilary Pennington, executive vice president of programs at the Ford Foundation. “Anita and Chi-hui, alongside the outstanding team we have at Ford, are tasked with the urgent work of reducing inequality and advancing a more just society.” 

Khashu joined the Ford Foundation in 2021 as senior program officer for the foundation’s immigrant rights portfolio. In this role, she led Ford’s efforts to advance reforms that protect and expand the rights, safety, and overall well-being of all immigrants in the United States, enabling them to thrive and live without fear. In this capacity, Khashu also helped to launch the Abundant Futures Fund, a collaborative fund with the goal of significantly expanding and diversifying the immigration funding base to provide immigrants greater dignity, power, and voice. Khashu’s experience with funder collaboratives has been a critical asset to Ford’s work and impact, as these funding models represent one of the fastest-growing areas of philanthropy. Notably, Khashu also served as a member of Ford’s States Working Group, leading Ford’s investments in building a more robust and resilient democracy in Texas, and contributed to the U.S. programs’ newly formed Racial Justice Initiative. 

Prior to joining Ford, Khashu was the director of the Four Freedoms Fund (FFF), the largest funder collaborative in the U.S. that works to strengthen the capacity of the immigrant justice movement. Before joining FFF, she was the founding director of the Vera Institute of Justice’s Center on Immigration, a Fulbright Scholar, a scholar-in-residence at the Center for Inter-American Studies and Programs at the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico, and a staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society of New York in its criminal practice. 

“Gender, racial, and ethnic justice have been at the core of the Ford Foundation’s work for decades, and I am proud to lead the GREJ-U.S. team at this critical moment in our fields. The right for all people to have access to reproductive healthcare, live in safe communities, and live free of fear, regardless of documentation status, are key pillars of a strong democracy,” said Khashu. “In partnership with our fellow funders and grantee partners, I am honored to work towards bringing to fruition our vision for a society where all people can thrive.” 

Khashu serves on the board of the Envision Freedom Fund (formerly the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund) and the Management Center. She holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Tufts University and a juris doctorate from Boston University School of Law.

Yang joined the Ford Foundation in 2015 as part of the CFE program, serving in a number of key program officer roles for the JustFilms initiative, one of the largest grantmaking funds in the world for documentary film, new media, and visual storytelling. Most recently, he was a senior program officer for the JustFilms team and led its efforts to support independent documentary content and the larger filmmaking ecosystem. Yang’s main priorities centered on supporting artist-led, social justice filmmaking; advancing a more equitable and inclusive documentary sector; and building the power of organizations and individuals grounded in disabled, LGBTQ+, and Black, Indigenous, and people of color’s communities. One such example of these efforts is Critical Minded, an initiative to build the resources, visibility, and reach of critics of color for artistic and cultural works, because critics often have the power to shift dominant narratives and give platform to unheard and underrepresented stories. 

Yang’s career has spanned philanthropy, nonprofits, academia, art, television, and creative and film organizations, and he’s been a jurist on numerous festival and award bodies. Before Ford, Yang was a prominent film curator in roles that included consulting series producer for PBS’s POV and for the Museum of Modern Art’s Doc Fortnight: MoMA’s International Festival of Nonfiction Film and Media. His independently curated programs include the 2008 Flaherty Film Seminar “The Age of Migration” and the film series and symposium “Lines and Modes: Media, Infrastructure, and Aesthetics.” From 2000 to 2010, he was director of the San Francisco International Asian American Film Festival, one of the largest events of its kind in the nation. He’s also served as a professor at a number of storied institutions, including as an adjunct professor in Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism and Hunter College’s Asian American Studies Program, as well as an instructor at the UnionDocs Center for Documentary Art. 

“Ford has a remarkable history of supporting the arts in all its forms for almost nine decades. It’s a tremendous honor to lead the CFE team today, as we believe art, film, and journalism help us understand our worlds, find purpose, and create meaningful connections with others,” said Yang. “Our work continues to make sure the stories we hear, see in media and film, and read in the newspaper reflect perspectives and experiences that shape a more inclusive world, and that represent more than a select few in our society.” 

Yang earned a master’s degree with honors in film studies from San Francisco State University and a bachelor’s degree with honors in international relations from Stanford University. He is currently on the Impact Advisory Council for Participant Media and is a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 

“I am pleased to welcome these two experienced colleagues into their new director roles and as key leaders in our work to build an inclusive society and resilient democracy,” said Sarita Gupta, vice president of U.S. programs at the Ford Foundation. “We are in a critical moment in the U.S. as we tackle systemic issues of inequality and cultural norms that reinforce harmful narratives about underrepresented communities. I couldn’t think of two better leaders than Anita and Chi-hui to steer the ship.”

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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