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Ford Foundation mourns passing of Innocent Chukwuma

Ford Foundation has regretted the passing of Innocent Chukwuma, its former regional director, on Saturday, April 3 in Lagos. Innocent had recently been diagnosed of leukemia and was just beginning emergency treatment.

It stated that, “as the director of Ford’s West Africa office from 2013 to 2021, Innocent led the Foundation’s work in the region with admirable humility, grace and exceptional knowledge of civil society and governance challenges and opportunities.

“In addition to being a dedicated and admired leader in his office, he built solid partnerships with donors, civil society leaders and public and private sector leaders.

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The organisation disclosed that Innocent was a skilled grantmaker and a dedicated thought partner to its grantees in the region and beyond, adding that most recently, he played a pivotal role in the growth of impact investing in West Africa to help leverage private sector resources towards meeting Sustainable Development Goals.

“Innocent’s expertise and ability to forge meaningful partnerships helped catalyze private and public sector entities to launch the Impact Investors Foundation, which aims to promote the growth and excellence of impact investing in Nigeria.

“Before joining the Ford Foundation, Innocent founded and led the CLEEN Foundation to promote public safety, security, and accessible justice in West Africa. CLEEN was the first African nongovernmental organisation to receive the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.

In addition, Innocent held various posts within the Civil Liberties Organisation, one of Nigeria’s first human rights organisations. Innocent was the recipient of numerous honours, including the Reebok International Human Rights Award, and served as visiting lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our friend and colleague, Innocent Chukwuma,” said Ford Foundation President Darren Walker.

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