A Deep Dive into Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives

In 1936, the Ford Foundation was founded by one of the wealthiest industrialists in history. Demos, a progressive think tank, was born over sixty years later in response to the country’s growing economic equality. Despite these dissimilar origin stories, both organizations similarly grapple with a changing sociopolitical landscape. As part of their continued evolution, Ford and Demos individually committed to a process of intentional introspection, reexamining the relationships between power and oppression and revising internal processes to more closely reflect the values interwoven in their programming. Through these processes, both not only began to change themselves, but to encourage and set an example for other organizations navigating the same questions.

How can an organization transform? How can it leverage that metamorphosis to reshape the philanthropic sector? What kind of resources does this work take, and what happens when those resources aren’t available? What lessons can be learned from these examples and transferred into other contexts? In these dual case studies, we’ll examine the radical reshaping of one of the world’s leading foundations and one of the sector’s most innovative nonprofits—and through engaging local perspectives, explore what steps might lead to a more inclusive philanthropic sector.


José Gonzalez: Director of Talent Management and Learning, Demos

Tiffany FitzGerald: Associate Director, Foundation Relations, Demos

Megan Morrison: Strategy and Learning Officer, Ford Foundation

Diane Samuels: Human Resources Director, Ford Foundation


Laura McCargar: President, Perrin Family Foundation

Panelist Bios:

Tiffany FitzGerald joined the Demos team in July 2018 as Associate Director, Foundation Relations. She brings over a decade of experience in fundraising, grant writing, and nonprofit administration to the role. Prior to Demos, Tiffany held positions at the Center for Community Change, Folger Shakespeare Library, and National Trust for Historic Preservation. A native Washingtonian, she has volunteered in support of literacy and early childhood education, urban farms, and tenant rights. She currently serves on the “Board of Instigators” of D.C.’s Diverse City Fund and earned her B.A. in English and Communications from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA. In her free time, Tiffany demonstrates her passion for storytelling and social change writing at intersection of parenting, community empowerment, and social justice.

José Gonzales: As Director of Talent Management and Learning, José is responsible for leading the organization’s efforts to recruit, develop and retain top-quality talent and helping to foster a positive, equitable, and inclusive workplace. Jose is the chair of the organization’s Equity and Inclusion Advancement Team and serves as a member of the Senior Leadership Council. Prior to joining Demos, José co-founded a New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) school for overage, under-credited, middle and high school youth of the South Bronx. José was responsible for school operations, including fiscal management and purchasing, hiring and staff development, and facilities management. In four years, he helped to grow the school from a two-person founding team, to 40 plus staff working to reconnect students and their families to the transformative power of education. Prior to joining the NYCDOE, José spent over 11 years at Safe Horizon, a New York city based non-profit that provides support to more than 250,000 children, adults and families whose lives have been impacted by crime and abuse. During his time at Safe Horizon, José held many positions including Director of the Streetwork Project, a drop-in counseling center for homeless and runaway youth. José was responsible for the management and oversight of the Harlem based drop-in center and its staff, that provided critical support services to over 1,000 of New York City’s most vulnerable youth each year.    

José is a first generation American, whose parents immigrated from Mexico. He currently resides in Brooklyn, NY and spends his time playing volleyball, volunteers as a high school girls and boys volleyball coach in the Bronx, and is an avid theatre goer.              

Diane Samuels is the Ford Foundation’s director for human resources, serving as the point of contact to staff in the New York office. Her areas of responsibility include staffing, employee relations, organizational change management, employee coaching and advising, performance management support, staff development, compensation, and benefits design and application. Diane is also responsible for leading Ford’s first global diversity, equity and inclusion program. Diane earned her master’s degree in human resources management from the New School and a bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College.


Megan Morrison is a Strategy and Learning Officer at the Ford Foundation. In this role, she leads projects and initiatives that support responsible, strategic grantmaking, including program officer training in grant craft, and the development of policies and practices that support good grantmaking and relationship building with organizations. She also coordinates the collection and analysis of Ford's grantmaking data and supports ongoing monitoring and learning from Ford's work. Megan joined the foundation in 2009 and has supported various program areas across the foundation, including sexuality and reproductive health and rights, arts and culture, media and journalism, religion, and education. Before joining the Ford Foundation, Megan worked in various administrative, project management, and strategy roles in the art sector, first at the Guggenheim Museum, and then at Sotheby’s.


Laura McCargar was appointed as President of the Perrin Family Foundation in June of 2016. Laura joined the foundation in 2012 as a Program Officer, where she played a central role in designing the foundation’s youth-led social change grantmaking strategy and oversaw the development and implementation of capacity building initiatives designed to strengthen and expand youth organizing across Connecticut. Prior to joining the Foundation, Laura was awarded a Soros Justice Fellowship from Open Society Foundations to engage in research and organizing around the previously little-known role that alternative schools and adult education programs play in Connecticut’s school-to-prison pipeline. Before that, Laura served as the founding Executive Director of Youth Rights Media, a New Haven-based nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering youth to use media and organizing strategies to create community change. In 2007, Laura was awarded the International Reebok Human Rights Award in recognition of her outstanding efforts to advance youth justice. Laura graduated Magna Cum Laude from Yale University in 2002.