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Ford chief to receive top sector honor

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As she prepares to conclude her 37-year tenure at the Ford Foundation, outgoing President Susan Berresford will receive the John W. Gardner Leadership Award, the top award bestowed by the association serving the nation’s nonprofit sector.

Independent Sector, a membership organization of about 575 nonprofits and foundations across the U.S., will present the award to Berresford at its annual conference in Los Angeles in October.

In choosing Berresford for the award, which includes a gift of $10,000, Independent Sector cited her work to improve leadership in marginalized communities and her efforts to support institutions that advance civil society.

“Susan’s efforts to invest in organizations dedicated to improving social justice and economic conditions have helped people around the globe to realize their aspirations,” said William S. White, chairman, president and CEO of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and chair of the John W. Gardner Leadership Award Committee, said in a statement.

Berresford joined the Ford Foundation in 1970, starting in its national-affairs division and rising steadily though the ranks until she assumed the top spot in 1996.

She announced last year that she plans to leave the $12 billion funder in 2008.

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