Teresa Younger has been appointed president and chief executive of the Ms. Foundation for Women. Ms. will announce the news at the organization’s gala this evening which is billed as an 80th birthday celebration for one of its legendary founders, Gloria Steinem.
Ms. Younger, 44, is currently the executive director of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Women, based in Connecticut, and will start her new job in mid-June. She replaces Anika Rahman, who left over the summer to pursue other interests.
“This is my dream job,” said Ms. Younger, who has held both paid and unpaid posts at advocacy organizations. “I feel it is a job I’ve been preparing for my whole life.”
Ms. Younger joins the 40-year-old advocacy and grant-making organization as it strives to regain the stature it had in the earlier days of its existence when there were few such groups. But since then, the number of women’s groups have multiplied and fragmented. There has been a perception that Ms. is an organization focused on white women, which likely stems from its founders but Ms. Steinem and the others haven’t been directly involved in running it for years. In actuality, the foundation makes grants to about 100 organizations, many of which focus on minority and poor women.
To get back in the forefront, over the last two years the foundation has started a social-media campaign, revamped its website, replaced its logo and hired an executive to lead a state-level lobbying effort.
Ms. Younger has formalized her plans for the organization but she wants to make sure that it sends a message that it is an inclusive, not elitist organization. Her status as an African American woman will certainly help convey that idea, Ms. Younger adds.
“I want to do justice to the legacy but bring in new ideas,” said Ms. Younger.
She said that among her chief accomplishments at her current post were working to increase the minimum wage and mandating paid-sick leave. Ms. Younger was formerly the executive director of the Connecticut branch of the American Civil Liberties Union. She also headed the organization development department at the ACLU’s national organization.
She was also the president of Connecticut chapter of the Girl Scouts and now heads her own troop.