CEO Interview Series: Christopher Stone, Open Society Foundations, with Phil Henderson

Wednesday, May 1, 2013 -
8:30am to 11:00am EDT
Philanthropy New York, 79 Fifth Ave., 4th floor, NYC
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Christopher Stone, President of the Open Society Foundations, is our guest for the third session in our CEO Interview Series. Chris came to Open Society in 2012 with a charge to use his international expertise — in both criminal justice reform and in the leadership and governance of nonprofits — to help guide the Open Society Foundations in realizing its mission to create tolerant societies with governments that are accountable to and encourage the participation of all people. Chris comes to this work from a long tenure at Harvard, where he was Guggenheim Professor of the Practice of Criminal Justice in the Kennedy School of Government and Director of the Hauser Center for Nonprofit Organizations.  Given this background, Chris is particularly well-positioned to make substantial and lasting change at the Foundations — and to help a living donor secure his legacy. 
Our interlocutor for this program is the always thoughtful and engaging Phil Henderson, President of the Surdna Foundation.  Chris and Phil will discuss not only the internal adjustments Chris is currently tackling at the Open Society Foundations, but also the core strategic challenges he and the Board believe this international organization will need to address to realize its mission.
Among the questions we’re considering asking Chris to address:
  • At first blush, your career seems bifurcated: you have spent much of your life “on the ground,” protecting the legal rights of some of the most oppressed or disadvantaged peoples around the world; but you also have studied and worked at especially privileged institutions like Harvard, Yale and Cambridge.  How do these two distinctive paths inform one another? Or do you even see them as different paths?
  • What’s the most interesting thing you’ve heard from one of your hundreds of followers on Twitter?
  • George Soros has said that he worked especially well with your predecessor, Aryeh Neier, because Mr. Neier knew all the “nooks and crannies” of Mr. Soros’ complex grantmaking organization.  Mr. Soros also indicated that he very much wants your tenure to focus on streamlining the foundations’ operations.  So what’s the oddest “nook” or “cranny” you’ve uncovered so far?
We will leave ample time for audience questions and comments. An informal reception will follow the program.


  • What Chris Stone and the foundation’s trustees perceive as the most urgent challenges and opportunities facing the Open Society Foundations, the philanthropic sector and the world.
Part of the Philanthropy New York CEO Interview Series.



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