Tarik Ward

Director of Global Strategic Operations and U.S. Programs, the ELMA Philanthropies Services

Tarik Ward manages the digital and physical infrastructure for the ELMA Philanthropy Services team, spanning locations in New York, New York; Cape Town, South Africa; Johannesburg, South Africa; and Kampala, Uganda. He also oversees all U.S. programming, including the ELMA Music Foundation, the ELMA U.S. Foundation, and the ELMA Caribbean Foundation. 

In his role, he has spearheaded the expansion of the ELMA Music Foundation's portfolio, reach, and impact in the U.S. and South Africa by collaborating with organizations using music for effective youth development. Ward brings a diverse career background, spanning the public, private, and nonprofit sectors in the U.S., and a deep passion for the educational and youth development potential of music.

Ward's career journey includes seven years as a flight controller for the International Space Station at NASA, two years of consulting at Deloitte with a focus on working with education and early childhood development nonprofits, and two years as the chief operating officer of the Commit! Partnership, a Dallas, Texas–based collective impact nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to quality education for all children and youth, from cradle to career.

Ward holds a B.S. in aerospace engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as an M.B.A. and an M.A. in education from Stanford University. In his spare time, he enjoys playing the trumpet and has built an extensive digital music collection containing nearly 100,000 songs.