Updates from NoVo

NoVo’s executive director to step down at the end of 2019

07 November 2019

Dear friends and colleagues,

We are writing to share the bittersweet news that, after 12 years at the NoVo Foundation, our Executive Director Pamela Shifman has decided to step down from her post at the end of this year.

As anyone who knows her will attest, Pamela has been a visionary, dedicated and deeply compassionate leader at NoVo since she joined the Foundation in 2008.  And as executive director since 2014, Pamela has had an indelible impact across our work.

Pamela co-created Move to End Violence, a transformational 10-year, $80 million dollar initiative to strengthen the movement to end violence against girls and women in the US; launched a historic $90-million commitment to support girls of color across the United States; led new investments in the leadership of Indigenous women and women of color, including the leadership of women impacted by incarceration; deepened our grantmaking across the Global South by forging powerful partnerships with re-granters and intermediaries who are deeply rooted in local communities; and led the creation of the Radical Hope Fund to accelerate the most promising efforts to respond to and transcend rising authoritarianism.

Pamela’s leadership has also been deeply felt within the philanthropic sector: she led efforts to create more and better resources for girls’ and women’s rights work by creating the Just Beginnings Collaborative to end child sexual abuse and mobilizing philanthropic partners to meet the momentum of the #MeToo movement through the creation of the Collaborative Fund for Women’s Safety and Dignity. Pamela has commented widely on issues as broad ranging as the responsibility of white leaders in addressing racism in philanthropy and the connections between gender based violence and mass killings. Pamela instilled an even sharper racial and gender justice lens throughout all our work at NoVo Foundation.

Through it all, Pamela has led with heart, brilliance, humility and courage, striving to ensure that philanthropy is accountable to activists, movements and communities and always acts from a deep belief that those with experience of injustice are the best experts of their lives and communities.

Now, she has decided that the time is right to begin a new chapter. While all of us will miss Pamela’s daily presence at NoVo, we could not be more excited for her as she explores the next phase of her life’s work to create a world where everyone can live in safety and dignity, free from violence and discrimination.  After taking some time off to rest and reflect, Pamela will have more details to share about her next steps in the coming months.

Pamela will leave a remarkable legacy, filled with more than a decade of deep partnerships, transformative impact, and lasting change. An important part of that legacy is Pamela’s strong leadership in hiring and developing staff, an amazing group of people who bring rigor and love to everything they do. As a result, we are in an exceptionally strong place to take our mission forward.

Following Pamela’s transition, NoVo’s leadership team will work directly in partnership with us. As co-presidents, we will provide continued oversight of the foundation’s grantmaking and operations moving forward.

As we grow into this new way of working, our longstanding values will continue to guide everything we do. NoVo’s mission – to create a transformation from a world of domination and exploitation to one of collaboration and partnership – has remained unchanged since the foundation’s creation in 2006. Today, that mission feels more urgent than ever.

That urgency also requires deep reflection on how we do our best to deliver the promise of that mission as our shared future unfolds.

Please know how grateful we are for your partnership and solidarity.

With gratitude,
Jennifer and Peter Buffett