NEW YORK — The Ford Foundation today announced the appointment of Depelsha McGruder as chief operating officer and treasurer. McGruder will join Ford's executive leadership team in New York, overseeing the global operations and finance for the $13 billion foundation. She will succeed John Bernstein, who served as the foundation's COO since 2015.
McGruder joins the foundation from New York Public Radio (NYPR), where she served as chief operating officer, overseeing internal operations and strategic planning for WNYC, WQXR, Gothamist.com, the Greene Space, and New Jersey Public Radio since 2018. McGruder also served as interim CEO for six months during a transformative leadership transition. During her tenure, McGruder led NYPR in strengthening the organization, cultivating a vibrant, values-driven culture, and improving key processes and systems. She also partnered with senior leadership to chart the course of local news, talk, cultural programming, and digital content to build a sustainable future for NYPR amidst a rapidly changing media landscape.
"We couldn't be more excited to have Depelsha join Ford's team and bring her incredible versatility, sophistication, depth of experience, and personal commitment to creating a more fair and just world to the foundation," Ford president Darren Walker said. "Her significant expertise in the private and nonprofit sectors, running smart, successful and sustainable operations while driving innovative approaches, makes her an invaluable asset who I am confident will help us strengthen our work here and around the globe."
Prior to her role at New York Public Radio, McGruder spent 17 years at Viacom in senior leadership positions at both MTV and BET Networks. During her tenure, she launched mobile, broadband and video-on-demand businesses for MTV. She also developed and operated two new cable television networks with programming designed to serve underrepresented Latino, African American, and youth audiences, resulting in triple-digit increases in audience growth and revenue. McGruder started her career as a broadcast journalist, working as an on-air reporter, anchor, and producer for two commercial television stations in Georgia.
A mother of two, McGruder is also the founder and president of Moms of Black Boys United and M.O.B.B. United for Social Change, two sister organizations dedicated to positively influencing how black boys and men are perceived and treated by law enforcement and in society. Since their founding in 2016, the efforts have given birth to a national crusade that has instilled hope, empowerment, and an unwavering commitment from moms of black sons and beyond to take action.
"Joining the Ford Foundation is a dream come true," McGruder said. "I cannot think of an organization that is more closely aligned with my personal values, and it’s my heart's desire to become part of a team of like-minded individuals working to solve some of the world's biggest problems. I look forward to joining this dynamic team and to furthering the mission of building a more just and fair future for all."
McGruder holds a BA from Howard University and an MBA from Harvard Business School.