Ali Noorani, a veteran nonprofit leader and coalition builder in fields ranging from public health to immigration, has been named as the new Program Director of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s U.S. Democracy program. Noorani will join Hewlett in July 2022.
Hewlett’s U.S. Democracy program supports essential pillars of democracy — trustworthy elections and functional governing institutions — at a time when U.S. democracy is fragile. It provides over $20 million annually in grants to a diverse array of nonprofit, nonpartisan organizations. Established in 2020 as a long-term grantmaking commitment, the program grew out of a special, time-limited effort called the Madison Initiative, which was launched by Hewlett president and constitutional law scholar Larry Kramer to address the looming threat posed by hyper partisanship and political polarization. Noorani succeeds Daniel Stid, who completed his eight-year term with the foundation this spring.
“I am delighted that Ali is joining us,” said Hewlett Foundation President, Larry Kramer. “He brings a fresh set of eyes informed by a deep understanding of how to build creative partnerships and find common ground in highly divided circumstances. His experience in the immigration field, one of the most fraught and polarized areas of policy today, has given him a close-up view of the harms of political dysfunction and how a thriving democracy is essential to the lives and liberties of all Americans.”
“Misinformation, a lack of public sector expertise and capacity, and the decline and incapacity of our federal institutions have weakened U.S. democracy over many years,” said Noorani. “I’m proud to join an incredible team at Hewlett, addressing this crisis in a fashion that benefits all Americans.”
Noorani joins the foundation after serving as President and CEO of the National Immigration Forum in Washington, D.C., where he was notable for his creative coalition building — working with and bringing together unlikely allies to promote the value of immigration. He is an Emerson Dial Fellow, a fellow at the Arizona State University Social Transformation Lab, and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. He is the author of two books, Crossing Borders and There Goes the Neighborhood, and holds a master’s in public health from Boston University. He is also a graduate of the University of California, Berkeley.