Dear Friends and Colleagues,

I am writing to announce that I will be transitioning from my role as Executive Director of The New Florida Majority(NewFM) to join the Ford Foundation starting May 15th of this year. At Ford I will help lead the Foundation’s work on expanding democratic participation – particularly the capacity, scale and impact of historically disadvantaged base building organizations – to ensure that communities have greater voice and power to shape the policy decisions that impact their lives. This, like my role at NewFM, is a dream job, and I’m honored that the Ford Foundation has chosen me to take on this role and great responsibility.

I feel blessed, and I take on this role with utmost appreciation and respect for all the amazing, inspiring, and resilient members, leaders, organizers, and allies on the ground in Florida, in the South, and across the country that do the hard work of building ordinary peoples’ power day in and day out.  I take this role with a very real understanding of the complex contexts in which we do our work and the real dangers and needs of this political moment.  The work of building justice, inclusion, and power at the local and state levels is more important than ever. Now is the time that we double down on organizing and transform our strategies.  I take that mandate to heart, and I take it with me to Ford.

I have been fortunate to be on the ground level of the work that moves forward the arc of freedom, racial justice, and our collective power in the South for the past 25 years:  from organizing textile workers in North Carolina, helping to build a Haitian nursing home workers’ union in Miami, fighting for homes and jobs in Liberty City at the Miami Workers Center, to building The New Florida Majority.  I leave Florida with a great love for the organizations and its people. I’m proud that as I leave, the movement in Florida is stronger and more effective than ever.The New Florida Majority itself is growing. The organization is innovating its organizing and communications model, supporting Black leadership and organizing power, expanding into new areas to build deeper Black-Latino unity, and developing new diverse leadership inclusive of youth, women, Black, Latino, LGBTQ and formerly incarcerated communities. NewFM is tackling issue areas ranging from Economic Security to Rights Restoration to Gender Justice to Campaign Finance Reform and to Climate Resiliency. We’re working with organizing partners across the state to build a collaborative state organizing infrastructure, coordinating effectively with the state tables, and building bridges across constituencies and sectors.

NewFM does this all while being true to the mission of the organization to build independent political power and further the cause of democracy, inclusion, and freedom.  NewFM’s fantastic senior leadership team is providing daily guidance to usher our strategic work forward, and the board and I have been working on succession planning over the past year. We have strong steps in place to ensure that the important work of the organization continues and builds.I acknowledge and thank everyone who have sacrificed and contributed to take us this far: all our staff past and present who have built NewFM into the beautiful and open-hearted organization that it is; our board members that have offered their wisdom and direction through the years; our allies throughout the state of Florida and around the country who have offered your lessons and collaboration; and our funders who invested in our vision and supported our innovation, growth, and growing pains. All of you make NewFM the unique organization that it is. Thank you.

In the coming days and weeks, I invite you to be in touch with me, should you have any questions about the transition or wish to share any thoughts about NewFM moving forward.  All the ingredients are in place to ensure that NewFM continues to build and win. As a parting request, I ask that all our friends support the organization, its leaders, and help us find a new ED!!

In Unity,
Gihan