Oct 21, 2019
It’s hard to describe how energy shifts when Patrick Gaspard is in the room. He is positive, ready to engage, and most importantly, completely present. As president of the Open Society Foundations, whose philanthropy supports democratic practice, human rights and equal access to justice in 120 countries, Patrick is a powerful presence in many rooms. His ability to listen to and act on what communities are saying in those rooms is grounded in his personal experience as an organizer. He knows that listening yields critical information and validates those who are not heard enough.
Steeped in the convictions of founder George Soros, Open Society Foundations advocates for persecuted communities across the globe, from the Rohingya forced into statelessness by Myanmar to the LGBTQ community in Kenya. In the United States, Open Society Foundations invests in nonprofits with the will and capacity to build local organizations that can mobilize nationally to create meaningful policy change.
Even in this political and social climate, which Patrick describes as complex and disorienting, he is optimistic about what a new generation of organizing has generated. They are able to break through the silos that have defined a more traditional approach to advocacy, and they thrive in a world of intersectionality. He reminds us, that change making is urgent, unstoppable and fun, an important message in these chaotic times. There is much more to explore with Patrick about his vision for building community, influence and power. He has promised a return visit to Power Station and the door will always be open.