Ford Shifts Grant Making to Focus Entirely on Inequality

Friday, June 19, 2015

The fight against inequality will take center stage at the Ford Foundation under a sweeping overhaul announced today by the nation’s second biggest philanthropy.

Not only will Ford direct all of its money and influence to curbing financial, racial, gender, and other inequities, but it will give lots more money in a way grantees have been clamoring for: It hopes to double the total it gives in the form of unrestricted grants for operating support. The doubling of general operating support to 40 percent of the foundation’s grant-making budget, projected to be in excess of $1 billion over five years, will enable Ford to create what its president, Darren Walker, calls a “social-justice infrastructure” reminiscent of the support it provided nonprofits during the civil-rights era.

“By giving a set of institutions core support or seed capital, we helped initiate and support entire movements,” he said. “We contributed to an entire generation of social-justice leaders around the world.”

Now, he says, Ford hopes that providing support without strings attached will help make organizations more “durable” and allow them more leeway in designing their own programs.

“We’re going to move away from bending our grantees to fit into our boxes and do a better job of listening and learning,” he said.

Source: The Chronicle of Philanthropy (link opens in a new window)

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