Gara LaMarche, Vice President and Director of U.S. Programs, Open Society Institute: September 11 and Civil Liberties
PND Newsmakers - Gara LaMarche, Vice President and Director of Domestic Programming, Open Society Institute
Eight months after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon transformed a perfect late-summer morning in the Northeast into a watershed event in American history, the response to the attacks continues to define policy debates in this country to an extent not seen in a generation. As doctrine, the war on terrorism has reordered domestic spending priorities, altered American foreign policy objectives, and sparked a resurgence of patriotism across the country.
At the same time, the campaign to oust the Taliban and dismantle the Qaeda terrorist network before it can launch additional attacks on U.S. soil has created profound tensions between America and many of its allies and raised troubling questions at home about the proper balance between security and civil liberties.
In March, Philanthropy News Digest sat down with Gara LaMarche, Vice President and Director of U.S. Programs at the New York City-based Open Society Institute, to talk about the events of September 11 in the context of civil liberties, the war on terrorism as metaphor, and the work of OSI on behalf of the marginalized in society.
Gara LaMarche is vice president and director of U.S. programs for the Open Society Institute, a foundation established by philanthropist George Soros to promote open societies around the world.
Before joining OSI in 1996, Mr. LaMarche served as associate director of Human Rights Watch and was director of its Free Expression Project (1990-1996) and the Freedom-To-Write Program of the PEN American Center (1988-1990). From 1976 to 1988, he served in a variety of positions with the American Civil Liberties Union, including associate director of its New York branch (1979-1984) and executive director of the Texas Civil Liberties Union (1984-1988). In 1988-1989, he was a Charles H. Revson Fellow on the Future of the City of New York.
Mr. LaMarche is the author of more than seventy-five articles on civil liberties and human rights topics and has been published in The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday, The Nation, and the Texas Observer. He is, in addition, the editor of Speech and Equality: Do We Really Have to Choose? (New York University Press, 1996), and serves on the boards of Article 19 and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, and on the U.S. advisory committee for Index on Censorship, the London-based human rights magazine, and the advisory committee for the Human Rights Watch Women's Rights Project.
A native of Westerly, Rhode Island, Mr. LaMarche graduated from Columbia College in 1976 and lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Philanthropy News Digest: Gara, you've had a fascinating career. Can you walk us through the highlights, leading up to your arrival at OSI?
Gara LaMarche: I had what you might call an activist career before I came to OSI. In fact, I still consider myself an activist. The work I did before I came to OSI was focused on civil liberties and human rights, both in the United States and around the world. I spent the first twelve years of my career with the American Civil Liberties Union in a variety of positions, including directing the ACLU office in Texas for four years, where we worked on a variety of issues, from the death penalty, to protecting abortion rights, to dealing with some of the draconian responses to the AIDS epidemic when it first hit in the mid-1980s.
Then I came back to New York as a Revson Fellow at Columbia University, which was a wonderful opportunity to take a break in mid-career and think about my next step. And that took me in a more global direction for a while. First, I went to work for the PEN American Center, directing its Freedom-To-Write program and expanding the work the Center did in the United States. In the two years I was there, we saw the fatwah against Salman Rushdie, which was an extraordinary threat to free expression around the world, and, in the United States, the beginning of the culture wars over the funding of the National Endowment for the Arts and the de-funding of the Robert Mapplethorpe exhibit, both of which turned into intense free-expression campaigns.
Then I went to Human Rights Watch, where I was the associate director for six years and helped, among other things, the organization develop a larger body of work on human rights issues within the United States. At the same time, I acquired some experience managing a large international organization.
Then, in early 1996, OSI president Aryeh Neier, whom I had known from my work at both the ACLU and Human Rights Watch, asked me whether I'd be interested in helping George Soros expand his philanthropy in the United States. I thought that sounded like an interesting challenge, so I left Human Rights Watch to join OSI. I must say, it's been a pretty extraordinary experience, not the least because it has given me the opportunity to sit on the other side of the table and strategize about how funding could be deployed to advance some of the issues and causes that I've been concerned about. At the same time, one of the most rewarding aspects of the job has been the opportunity to deal more directly with solutions to social problems such as sub-standard public education, moving people from welfare to work, expanding drug treatment programs things that are important but don't necessarily fall under the rubric of human rights.
PND: The Soros foundations network now comprises over thirty national foundations located in Central and Eastern Europe, the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union, Africa, and Asia. The network was created by Soros to advance the cause of open societies around the world. What is an open society?
GL: First, Soros would say that the very nature of open societies makes them hard to define. In fact, unlike many philanthropists, one of the central principles that motivates Soros is an awareness of the fallibility of human beings and institutions. When I wrote the prospectus for our work in the United States six years ago and began to describe what we hoped to do, I took that notion of fallibility and said we would try to apply it to ourselves, realizing that foundations themselves were fallible and often made mistakes. And I think that was viewed by many people in the field as an unusual admission for a foundation to make.
But the hallmarks of the open society model that Soros has tried to promote are a respect for law and a system of justice that is fair and open to all people, an independent media and a free press, an independent educational system in other words, a vibrant array of non-governmental institutions that form a civil society in which the state has an appropriate role but does not control everything and where there is a lot of independent and voluntary activity, where there is protection for the rights of women and for minorities of all kinds: racial, ethnic, sexual, and so on. These things work together to form a constellation of values that need to be in place and protected in order for a society to be considered open.
In trying to foster the spread of open societies, Soros decided that one of the first things he would do was create locally-led institutions in countries that were making the transition from repression to democracy. It was often the case particularly after the fall of the Berlin Wall that the Soros foundations in a number of Central and Eastern European countries were themselves helping to encourage civil society by their mere existence as strong, independent institutions unconnected to the state.
PND: What's the relationship between the national foundations and OSI?
GL: It's an unusual structure insofar as I think we're one of the few philanthropies to have created a structure that devolves a substantial amount of grantmaking authority to the local level. While the money behind them is largely Soros', the national foundations are quasi-independent institutions with their own board of directors and staff.
In the United States, in contrast, we've followed a more traditional foundation pattern. We have a board in New York that oversees our U.S. programs and establishes our strategies and budgets. The exception is our office in Baltimore, where we employ an approach that's quite similar to the one Soros has adopted for his national foundations. We have a local board of directors and a local staff, and the board has substantial discretion when it comes to making grants.
The fundamental modus operandi is Soros' conviction that the national foundations should spend the money because they're closer to the problems and have a better sense about how to do it effectively than we do sitting here in New York or in Budapest, where the other main OSI office is located.
At the same time, he's created a number of global infrastructure programs to support the activities of the network. For example, we have public health, educational, law, media, and women's programs, and they all work closely with the national foundations on grants and programming. As a result, you end up with both a regional and thematic focus that come together in the activities of many of the national foundations.
PND: OSI's work in the U.S. includes programs dealing with care of the dying, drug policy reform, crime and incarceration issues, the fair treatment of immigrants, education and economic development, democratic reform, reproductive health and choice, and the restoration of professional and public interest values in law, medicine, and journalism. What's the common thread that unites your programmatic work in the States?
GL: I would say there are three major themes that define our work in the U.S. But first, you have to understand the concerns that drove Soros' philanthropy, beginning in the eighties, in Central and Eastern Europe, which is the part of the world he emerged from and which had been dominated by repressive communist governments since the Second World War. In the late eighties and early nineties almost every single country in the region went from a communist form of government with state-controlled institutions to a more democratic, participatory form of government. Soros went into those countries at that precise moment to help foster institutions that could create and contribute to democracy and civil society.
When Soros decided to look at the United States, the country where he had resided for the last forty years and of which he had become a citizen, he began to be troubled by what he saw as the challenges to open society here. In the communist world, the problem was an all-powerful state that refused to tolerate independent institutions or voices states, in other words, that controlled everything. In the U.S., by the mid-1990s, Soros was concerned by the fact that the market had become the dominant force in society and that the legitimate role of the state in providing for the public welfare was being eroded by marketplace values. If you read his books, you'll see that this preoccupies him a great deal. The United States is, on the face of it, an open society. We have a free press and independent educational institutions and a general respect for civil liberties. But Soros saw three challenges to the health and continuation of the "openness" we so cherish, and I think all of our programs can be grouped according to these themes.
|...in the U.S., our problems are largely problems of equity and opportunity. In this society, race, class, and gender impose barriers to democratic participation, to opportunity, to justice, to access to health care.....
One is that, in the U.S., our problems are largely problems of equity and opportunity. We may have an essentially open society in terms of civil liberties and economic opportunity, but those liberties and opportunities aren't broadly shared. In this society, race, class, and gender impose barriers to democratic participation, to opportunity, to justice, to access to health care.
Second, while we have a free press and a largely open debate on public issues, some voices aren't sufficiently heard in that debate. The traditionally marginalized groups again, by race or gender or class are groups that need to be heard. So, for example, when OSI looked at what we could do with respect to welfare reform legislation in 1996, we decided to provide a substantial amount of money to enable low-income people and their advocates at the state level to participate in the debate.
The third theme has to do with support for the public sphere. It gets back to what I was saying before about the erosion of public values and the exalting of marketplace values. It's also highly relevant after September 11. We all need to understand that there is a broad public interest at stake that transcends particular interests and that needs to be fostered. There needs to be an understanding of and appreciation for an appropriate role for government in our society. There are public services that only government can or should provide, whether that's after-school programs, effective drug treatment programs, or public health programs. There are obligations in a free, democratic society that ought to be undertaken on behalf of all of us by government. And finally, there's a need for public service. People need to be concerned about something larger than themselves.
So I would say the third major theme has to do with the preservation of the public sphere, the public interest, and public service. One way or another, virtually everything we do in the United States relates to one of those themes.
PND: Let's talk about September 11. We all know what happened that day, but many of us are still struggling to figure out why it happened. Why do you think it happened?
GL: Well, there are several different levels to that question. On one level, the answer has to do with policing and the adequacy of intelligence and law enforcement. It's easy to look back and say that the laxity of the CIA or the FBI or the Immigration and Naturalization Service, or the failure to look closely at a young man from another country who wanted to learn to fly a jetliner but didn't care about learning how to take off or land the thing were security lapses that never should have happened.
But, of course, there's a different way of looking at the question, and that invariably leads us to another question: Why do they hate us? And that's an enormous open-society challenge, and suggests a host of other difficult questions. For example, what kind of person would be willing to sacrifice his life in an act of terrorism? As it turns out, the profile of the September 11 hijackers was somewhat different than the profile of the typical suicide bomber. They were men who were highly educated and were more Westernized in many ways than other terrorists.
So in answering the question, "Why did September 11 happen," I think you first have to approach it with a certain amount of humility. I have just reviewed five books about September 11, and in all of them people rush to try to provide their expertise about why it happened. But I don't think anybody can sit here and tell you exactly why September 11 happened, or how to prevent it from happening again, or what the longer-term ramifications are. In many respects, it's simply too soon to tell.
However, there's no excuse for the kind of grotesque violence that took place on September 11. No set of grievances, however real, can excuse the obligation of every human being to respect other human beings, other human life. And so the people behind the events of September 11 need to be dealt with severely as the perpetrators of a crime of the highest order.
That being said, we live in a world in which the gulf between rich and poor is increasing, where a huge number of people live in poverty, where across significant swaths of the planet, including most of the Middle East, people don't have a say in how they are governed, and in which a relative few control most of the money and power. All of this contributes to frustration and, ultimately, anger, which, exacerbated by the state-controlled media in many Arab countries, fosters grievances that eventually find their way into a movement like al Qaeda.
My own personal view is that you need, broadly speaking, a two- or three-track strategy to deal with the phenomenon of terrorism even as I would say that the word itself is of limited usefulness. A lot of repressive governments in this world are only too happy to label their opponents "terrorists." But in many cases, one person's terrorist is another person's freedom fighter, and we need to be very careful about giving a hunting license to governments that want to eliminate their enemies under the guise of fighting terrorism.
PND: In a panel discussion at OSI in December, the writer Susan Sontag made the point that by declaring September 11 an "act of war" instead of a "crime against humanity," the Bush administration limited public debate to one set of responses while precluding another set of responses. What do you think she was driving at?
GL: I think there are a number of people who feel that the metaphor for September 11 is crime and not war. We had the destruction of the federal building and the murder of several hundred people in Oklahoma City, an act that many people originally assumed was the work of Islamic terrorists. Of course, it turned out to be the work of homegrown white racists. But we didn't go to war against the Aryan Nation, with whom Timothy McVeigh was associated. Instead, we tried to figure out who did it, and we used our criminal justice system to prosecute those responsible and bring them to justice.
|...The problem with the war on terrorism metaphor is that it's open-ended, and I think we're beginning to see the consequences of that....
OSI is not institutionally opposed to an appropriate military response to September 11. But I think there's a wide variety of opinions about what that might be and how it should be conducted. The problem with the war metaphor is that it's open-ended, and I think we're beginning to see the consequences of that. Having essentially routed al Qaeda in Afghanistan, we are now widening our war aims in a way that is both broad and ongoing. And many people are troubled by that.
When, for example, the president declares there to be an "axis of evil" in the world and lumps Iran, where there is a significant and burgeoning internal democratic movement, with North Korea and Iraq, it's hard to understand the logic behind that. There's an indiscriminate quality to it and the war against terrorism in general that troubles a lot of people in the same way that the so-called war on drugs troubles people that it's a war that may not have an end. I think Sontag was responding to that.
PND: Most people would agree that Americans' sense of security was profoundly shaken by the events of September 11. As you mentioned, the nineteen men who hijacked and crashed the three jets on the morning of the eleventh all fit a certain profile, albeit a slightly different one than we might have anticipated. In light of that fact, why shouldn't U.S. authorities use racial or ethnic profiling to prevent further terrorist attacks on U.S. soil?
GL: The racial profiling debate has been going on in this country for several years, and over that time we've become more aware of the extent to which racial profiling is used in law enforcement. I think we had reached a national consensus, which included the president and the attorney general, that racial profiling was offensive to our system of values and justice. Not only was it offensive, but if you talk to people in the law-enforcement community, it's not even effective. It is, in fact, a blunderbuss law-enforcement technique that doesn't really work.
We know, for example, that blacks and whites in this country use and sell drugs in roughly the same proportion as their percentage of the overall population. And as studies have shown, people tend to buy and sell drugs from and to people of their own race. So you can start with the basic fact that the problem of drug use and criminality is no greater for the black population in this country than it is for the white. But if you look at the statistics, the percentage of blacks arrested for drug possession and trafficking is much higher than it is for whites. The percentage of blacks convicted of drug possession and trafficking is much higher than it is for whites. The percentage of blacks who serve time for drug-related offenses is higher still. Even though we start from more or less the same kind of behavior base, when you get to the discretionary enforcement of our drug laws, you begin to see a sharp divergence, based on race, in the way those laws are applied.
Now along comes September 11, and with it the fear of additional acts of random terrorism. Against that backdrop, it's very hard to have a discussion about the balance between liberty and security. The Patriot Act that the attorney general rushed through Congress raised civil liberties issues that couldn't get an intelligent hearing because of the fear factor. But I think we're beginning to be able to have a more rational discussion about those issues. Many people would say that before you focus your law-enforcement activity on race or country of origin, you need to look first at behavior, at tightening up ordinary security, at doing everything you possibly can before you get to the question of racial or ethnic background. And I think many people would agree that if we had been more attentive to behavioral profiles rather than racial profiles, we would have had as good a chance, if not better, of preventing September 11.
What's more, I don't know that having thousands of Arab-American men and women sitting in jail on technical violations is going to prove to have been very effective in the long term. Instead, I think what we're going to find is what we discovered in every period of our history when the government has overreacted to a perceived national-security emergency. We're going to look back in shame at the detention of Arab-Americans in the same way that we look back in shame at the internment of Japanese-Americans in the Second World War or the deportation of immigrants suspected of leftist tendencies after the First World War.
PND: Although the attorney general asked for and was granted new powers under the Patriot Act, he has been fairly restrained in using them. Do you think that will continue to be the case?
GL: It's hard to say. The answer to that question will depend in part on whether or not there's an engaged citizenry in this country that believes that basic constitutional values need to be respected, no matter what the security threat. It's never a good idea to give too much power to any branch of government; it's never a good idea to give too much power to a single government official. And it may very well be that if we had a Gore administration, we would be seeing some of the same things. The Clinton administration, after all, was by no means completely admirable in the area of civil liberties, particularly when it came to criminal justice issues.
But John Ashcroft is somebody who has, in his long career, been hostile to the notion of civil rights and liberties. He has been on the wrong side of virtually every such issue. So it's particularly troublesome that he is the attorney general at this moment in our history, because he is not a man who is sensitive to constitutional values or civil rights and liberties.
|...Attorney General Ashcroft seems to think the very fact of raising questions is itself unpatriotic and that people who challenge the administration's policies regarding the war on terrorism are the enemy....
In fact, OSI took out an ad a couple of months ago to protest the attorney general's remarkable and appalling assertion that, in effect, it was unpatriotic to raise questions about government policies. I think that all the things the government is doing in the wake of September 11 the military tribunals, the detention of Arab-Americans, the questioning of thousands of others, the Patriot Act all of those are policies about which reasonable people can differ. We have serious concerns about them. And we understand there are people who have a different view. Nobody has a monopoly on the truth. The problem with Ashcroft is that he doesn't seem to think that way. He seems to think the very fact of raising questions is itself unpatriotic and that people who challenge the administration's policies regarding the war on terrorism are the enemy. That's dangerous. Most of us would agree that our democracy is strongest when citizens are robust in raising questions about the policies of their government. With all of the criticism of Israeli policies in regard to the Palestinians, one of the things we have to admire about Israel a country that has had to live with terrorism throughout its existence is the robust internal debate about those policies. And I don't see why the United States can't or shouldn't have the same kind of debate.
PND: What other things can the average American citizen whose sense of security has been shaken by the events of the last six months do to preserve civil liberties at home?
GL: Security and liberty are twin concerns, but I think the advocates of human rights and individual liberty which is what I've been for most of my career are often viewed as insufficiently attentive to the competing values at stake. OSI's biggest area of activity in the U.S. outside of after-school programs is the reform of the criminal justice system and the way in which we, as a society, over-rely on prisons as a response to crime. In the last ten or twenty years, the average American has been very scared of being a victim of crime not of al Qaeda, but of getting mugged or raped or having his or her house broken into. And I think the mistake that a lot of advocates for civil rights and civil liberties have made over the years is that they have not really couched their arguments in language that addresses ordinary people on the level of their real concerns, namely that they want to be free but they also want to be safe.
The way to do that is by making arguments not only to principle but also to effectiveness. Take an issue like drug testing. There's a mania for drug testing, and it has spread to all kinds of areas, including employment and education. But drug testing often doesn't measure impairment. If you're concerned about whether the person operating a truck is impaired, there are performance-based tests that measure this without necessarily invading a person's privacy. We need to be smart about these policies, both in the ordinary criminal justice system as well as in terms of national security.
Now, what can the average person do? On the one hand, they can take sensible precautions when it comes to their own safety and security. They can cooperate with increased security at airports, which almost nobody objects to on civil liberties grounds as long as it's carried out in a way that is not discriminatory. And they can play a role with respect to preservation of civil liberties, whether that involves working against hate crimes in their communities, or doing more to encourage racial understanding and tolerance, or supporting organizations that speak up for the marginalized groups in our society.
But at the same time that we're working to help our neighbors and fellow citizens who are in pain and distress as a result of the violence of September 11, we also need to make sure that we don't compound those injuries with additional injuries to our Arab-American or Islamic neighbors.
PND: While the war on terrorism has been very popular at home, it has received a noticeably cooler reception abroad. Is that something we should be concerned about?
GL: It's important that the United States recognizes that, despite its dominant military, financial, and economic power, it is still a citizen of the world and needs to respect international law and institutions. One of the most troubling developments in the international arena in recent years has been the tendency of United States to think that, as the world's sole superpower, it can call all the shots.
The fact is, the United States has done as much as any country to undermine international law. We have consistently refused to see ourselves as bound by international treaties, whether it's our treatment of al Qaeda prisoners in Guantanamo, or our refusal to cooperate with the international criminal tribunal, or our rejection of the Kyoto accords on global warming. There have been any number of incidents in recent years in which the United States has taken the view that international law and standards apply to everybody but us. And that's a dangerous position, because it's hard to insist on the rule of law for everyone else in the world if the United States refuses to apply the same laws to itself.
The popularity of our policies is not really the issue. Rather, I think the United States needs to be more genuinely multilateral in its approach to global problems. It needs to work through international institutions like the United Nations and through alliances with other democracies. Yes, the U.S. possesses substantial military power and can accomplish its military goals without much cooperation. But the long-term security of the United States and the world has to grow out of a vision in which the United States uses its strength and its most enduring values to lead the world, not to get ahead of the parade and wait for everybody else to fall into line.
If you look at Soros' own writings, you'll see that he's very concerned about the effectiveness of global institutions, about the United States acting as an enlightened world citizen, and about the growing gulf between rich and poor, not only in the United States but in Africa and Asia and Latin America, where the ramifications of that inequality are much more threatening, over the long term, to the security of the world than any particular act of terrorism.
PND: Can we win the war on terrorism?
GL: This gets back to my earlier point: If you adopt a war metaphor, where does it end? To the extent that you look at it as a military-police operation, can we control or suppress certain organizations and institutions that seem to be responsible for a lot of terrorist activity? Yes, it's possible to do that, and obviously some progress has been made in the campaign against al Qaeda. However, depending on how you define the word win, in a world in which you have the conditions I've been talking about the repression of religious and civil rights, the vast economic inequalities that exist a world in which far too many millions, if not billions, of people live under such conditions, you will always have fertile ground for the kind of violence that erupts in terrorism. In that sense, it's much harder to win a longer-term war against terrorism, because such a war can never be won militarily or through law enforcement. Instead, it has to be won by addressing the conditions that cause the grievances that erupt into terrorism.
|...I think the president realizes that it's our obligation as the world's richest and most powerful country to be more visionary and bold about global anti-poverty remedies than we have been....
So, again, you have to have a kind of two-track strategy. To have one without the other simply isn't going to work. You have to bring people who commit serious crimes to justice, whatever the grievances that give rise to those crimes, or otherwise there is no justice. At the same time, that's not enough, which is why I think you saw the president going to Monterrey for the UN's International Conference on Financing for Development, where he pledged the United States to do more about world poverty. I think the President realizes that the time has come, that it's our obligation as the world's richest and most powerful country, to be more visionary and bold about global anti-poverty remedies than we have been.
PND: In the short term, say three to five years, what are the biggest challenges facing the United States?
GL: I think all the problems that OSI has chosen to address drug policy reform, the death penalty, gun violence, over-incarceration, reproductive rights have, with very few exceptions, been controversial issues in American life. They're also driven by fear and anecdote, and as a result are not popular among other funders. But none of the problems we deal with is going to go away tomorrow.
Because OSI has a limited life span Soros plans to continue it in its present form no later than 2010 we have to decide where and on what we can make progress over the next eight years. And in the short term, I think we can make substantial progress on any number of issues. For example, we have to be more concerned with the protection of human rights and civil liberties in the United States as a result of the current crisis. In particular, we have to be concerned with and respect the roles that immigrants play in this society and make sure we don't succumb to xenophobia. I also think that we could make significant inroads toward a different kind of drug policy in the United States. We see signs all over the country that voters are getting smarter about this, and politicians are beginning to realize that it's a waste to use the criminal justice system to solve a public health problem.
I also think there are encouraging signs on what would seem like the intractable issue of the death penalty, where again, partly as a result of how out-of-step the United States is with the rest of the world on the issue, a lot of people are beginning to see that the criminal justice system in this country doesn't always operate fairly, that mistakes are made, and that, where an individual's life is at stake, you have to be very certain to be fair. And that's having a good effect on the debate over the death penalty.
But it's the longer-term issues that remain the most entrenched issues that have to do with the fundamental inequalities of our society, like the fact that in some cities half the kids don't graduate from high school and therefore have very dismal prospects. Other issues we haven't even talked about, like the health of our democracy, or the consequences of the increasing concentration of media and the lack of opportunity for alternate points of view to be aired, or the over-reliance of our political system on money and the increasing estrangement of people from that system those are long-term issues that cry out for action. The best thing we can do on any of these issues is to recognize that all foundations, even those that were established in perpetuity, ultimately have as their most important job the strengthening of the capacity of citizens and organizations to address the problems that will endure beyond a single foundation's work.
So we need to strengthen organizations of people who are being empowered to take charge of their own lives. If there's a leitmotif that runs through a lot of our work at OSI, it has to do with supporting non-traditional organizations that, in turn, help people who are poor, or people of color, or ex-prisoners, or former drug users, or young people in urban high schools who are undertaking projects to better their lives and their communities and to change the policies that will have an effect on the quality of their lives. And that, I think, is our most important task and the way, ultimately, that we will be measured and judged.
PND: Well, Gara, thanks very much for your time and for reminding us why OSI has become such an important and respected voice in the philanthropic community.
GL: My pleasure. Thank you.
Mitch Nauffts, PND's editorial director, interviewed Gara LaMarche at his office in New York City in March. For more information on the Newsmakers series, contact Mitch at firstname.lastname@example.org