Ford Foundation


The foundation will be shifting its grantmaking focus entirely on inequality. To address this, it will be working in fifteen program areas, grouped under seven headings: 1) Civic Engagement and Government; 2) Gender, Ethnic, and Racial Justice; 3) Equitable Development; 4) Inclusive Economies; 5) Internet Freedom; and 6) Youth Opportunity and Learning; 7) Creativity and Free Expression. The foundation will cut its support of several initiatives, including LGBT rights in the United States, direct cash transfers in Latin America, and micro finance. The foundation has an ongoing dialogue with its current portfolio of grantees about its evolving strategy. Those grantees that are being transitioned have been given final notice. The foundation is providing final grants to a number of those organizations. The foundation’s Board of Trustees has authorized the allocation of up to $1 billion of its endowment, to be phased in over 10 years, for mission-related investments (MRIs).


Established in 1936 in MI - The foundation was created by the late Edsel Ford, president of the Ford Motor Company, with an initial gift of $25,000. Edsel's father, Henry, was the founder of the Ford Motor Company. The foundation operated as a local philanthropy in the state of Michigan until 1950, when it expanded to become a national and international foundation. Since its inception, it has been an independent, nonprofit, non-governmental organization and has provided more than $16 billion in grants and loans worldwide. These funds derive from an investment portfolio that began with gifts and bequests of Ford Motor Company stock by Henry and Edsel Ford. The foundation no longer owns Ford Motor Company stock, and its diversified portfolio is managed to provide a perpetual source of support for the foundation's programs and operations. The foundation is headquartered in New York and has 10 overseas offices in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The trustees of the foundation set policy and delegate authority to the president and senior staff for the foundation's grant making and operation. Grantmakers explore opportunities to pursue the foundation's goals, formulate strategies and recommend proposals for funding. The foundation has re-located to temporary offices at 1440 Broadway while its landmark headquarters building at 320 E. 43rd St. New York, NY 10017-4801 undergoes a renovation and restoration project. The renovation and restoration project is scheduled to be completed in 2018, at which point the foundation will return to its landmark headquarters building. When the building re-opens, it will not only meet city code for safety and accessibility, it will also be a contemporary work space that is collaborative, open, and green, and the foundation will strive to make the renovated building more environmentally sustainable, and will be pursuing LEED Gold certification.The grantmaker is a signatory to Philanthropy’s Promise, an initiative of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP). By signing on, the grantmaker has committed to allocating the majority of its grantmaking dollars to marginalized communities and at least 25 percent to social justice strategies, such as advocacy, community organizing, and civic engagement.

Grantmaking Programs

Matching Gifts

The foundation matches the monetary gifts of its employees to charitable organizations.

Democratic and Accountable Government

The program works to help people become participants in the decisions that have an impact on their lives. This is done primarily by supporting robust and inclusive civic organizations that bring diverse people together and give them a voice in the democratic process. The program has four initiatives: 1) Increasing Civic and Political Participation: The goal is to increase participation of marginalized communities at all levels of civic and political life; 2) Strengthening Civil Society and Philanthropy: The goal is to increase the effectiveness of civic organizations by strengthening their infrastructure and regulatory environment; 3) Promoting Electoral Reform and Democratic Participation: The goal is to eliminate barriers to democratic participation so that marginalized populations in the United States are represented fully; and 4) Promoting Transparent, Effective and Accountable Government: The goal is to improve the transparency, accountability and inclusiveness of government institutions and processes


Freedom of Expression

The program supports policies that ensure equal access to all media platforms, promotes social justice content in media and fosters documentary films that explore the social justice issues on which the foundation focuses. The program has six initiatives:1) Supporting Diverse Arts Spaces: The goal is to promote a new generation of 21st-century arts spaces and arts leadership that reflect the cultural richness of diverse communities; 2) Advancing Public Service Media: The goal is to develop vibrant public interest media that engages and informs citizens worldwide on critical issues; 3) Advancing Media Rights and Access: The goal is to promote universal access, open systems and diversity in the media; 4) Religion in the Public Sphere: The goal is to help increase the presence and effectiveness of diverse religious perspectives dedicated to social justice and to encourage a rigorous and informed public engagement of religion and its role in the U.S. public sphere; 5) Media and Justice: The goal is to support a broad array of journalism and reporting that informs the public on complex social issues; and 6) JustFilms: The goal is to advance social justice worldwide through the talent of emerging and established filmmakers. For more details please review:

Sustainable Development

The program works to promote the development of natural resource policies and programs that give poor communities more control over these resources and a stronger voice in decision making on land use and development. The program has two initiatives: 1) Expanding Community Rights Over Natural Resources: The goal is to improve the livelihood of rural poor through increased access to, and decision making on, natural resources; and 2) Climate Change Responses That Strengthen Rural Communities: The goal is to promote climate change policies that meet the needs of rural poor communities worldwide by making grants to support research, advocacy, networking among organizations and communications to increase awareness and training activities


Metropolitan Opportunity

The program works across the United States to support efforts that reach beyond individual neighborhoods and cities to connect residents with opportunities in their broader metropolitan economies. The program has three initiatives: 1) Expanding Access to Quality Housing: The goal is to increase access for low-income families to asset-building homes; 2) Promoting Metropolitan Land-Use Innovation: The goal is to stabilize U.S. neighborhoods through innovative land use and community planning strategies; and 3) Connecting People to Opportunity: The goal is to connect low-income people to affordable housing, good jobs and transportation through smart regional planning


Economic Fairness

The program works on reforming public systems to help families move out of poverty and build the human capital, financial and productive assets they need for long-term intergenerational economic security. The program has five initiatives: 1) Ensuring Good Jobs and Access to Services: The goal is to help low-wage working families achieve economic self-sufficiency; 2) Promoting the Next Generation Workforce Strategies: The goal is to improve training and employment opportunities for marginalized workers; 3) Building Economic Security Over a Lifetime: The goal is to promote social protection programs that help low-income families achieve economic stability; 4) Improving Access to Financial Services: The goal is to improve access to and the infrastructure for innovative financial products and services for low-income people; and 5) Expanding Livelihood Opportunities for Poor Households: The goal is to reduce poverty for rural and urban low-income households.

Educational Opportunity and Scholarship

The program works on strengthening educational systems to ensure all young people receive an education that enables them to engage in meaningful work and contribute as citizens in diverse societies.The program has three initiatives: 1) Transforming Secondary Education: The goal is to transform secondary education through innovative programs that address dropout rates and hold education leaders accountable, making it possible for all young people in China to complete high school; 2) Higher Education for Social Justice: The goal is to foster policy and institutional reforms that improve disadvantaged people's access to and success in high-quality higher education; and 3) More and Better Learning Time: The goal is to reinvent public schools through more and better learning time in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty, so that students are prepared equitably for college, career and civic participation.

Human Rights

The program works to secure equal rights and opportunity for all. It supports efforts to help vulnerable populations gain access to the social, political and cultural institutions that govern their rights The program has five initiatives: 1) Advancing Racial Justice and Minority Rights: The goal is to secure equal rights and greater opportunity for racial and ethnic minorities and indigenous peoples; 2) Protecting Immigrant and Migrant Rights: The goal is to help national, state and local organizations secure and protect migrant rights and integrate them into a broader social justice agenda; 3) Reforming Civil and Criminal Justice Systems: The goal is to ensure access for marginalized groups to a robust criminal justice community committed to fairness and equal protection under the law; 4) Reforming Global Financial Governance: The goal is to make global financial governance systems more transparent, accountable and effective; and 5) Strengthening Human Rights Worldwide: The foundation is working to develop a new architecture for the human rights movement that matches our more globalized era—one that is equipped to confront structural discrimination and inequality, and ensure that the rights of the world’s historically marginalized people are implemented and enforced at the national, regional and international levels.

Gender, Sexuality and Reproductive Justice

The program works to strengthen sexual and reproductive health and rights, and encourage comprehensive sexuality education and evidence-based public discourse on sexuality. The program has six initiatives: 1) Protecting Women's Rights: The goal is to improve the livelihoods of low-income women by strategically addressing inequality and discrimination; 2) Reducing HIV/AIDS Discrimination and Exclusion: The goal is to protect and advance the rights of people affected by HIV/AIDS; 3) Supporting Sexuality Research: The goal is to ensure that evidence-based sexuality and reproductive health and rights research informs public policy and understanding; 4) Promoting Reproductive Rights and the Right to Sexual Health: The goal is to develop national reproductive and sexual health policies and laws supported by regional and international standards; 5) Youth Sexuality, Reproductive Health, and Rights: The goal is to advance policies and programs that ensure the improved sexual and reproductive health of marginalized young women; and 6) Advancing LGBT Rights: The goal is to secure equal rights and protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people


Program-Related Investment

The foundation has made PRIs in the form of loans that will help municipalities buy foreclosed homes from financial institutions in an effort to stem property-value declines plaguing U.S. neighborhoods. The foundation has also made PRIs in the form of loans in the U.S. and overseas mostly to intermediaries (e.g., loan funds and venture capital funds) primarily to serve the credit needs of economic development organizations in low-income communities, enterprise development, affordable housing development, the development of social ventures and the development of nonprofits. Historically, the foundation has made PRIs in the form of loans to support the establishment and capitalization of loan funds benefiting housing organizations, cultural institutions, educational programs, enterprise and employment development, as well as the growth of social ventures.

Building Institutions and Networks (BUILD)

The Building Institutions and Networks (BUILD) initiative is a five-year, $1 billion investment in the long-term capacity and sustainability of up to 300 social justice organizations around the world. The foundation's support aims to strengthen these institutions, making them more effective at achieving their core missions, and reducing inequality in all its forms.

Scholarship Program: International Fellowships Program

IFP supported advanced studies for social change leaders from the world's most vulnerable populations. By removing traditional barriers to higher education funding to promote greater equity in developing countries, IFP hoped that alumni would return to their home countries and dedicate themselves to improving conditions in their communities.
What Scholarship Covers: Support for educational and living costs
Degree Program: Graduate Degree
Geographic Scope of Student: Brazil, Chile, China, Egypt, Ghana, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico, Mozambique, Nigeria, Palestine, Peru, Phillippines, Russia, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand, Uganda, Vietnam
Host Countries: Top Host Countries: US, UK, Brazil, Spain, Netherlands, Mexico, Russia, Thailand, South Africa, Chile
Population Served: Economically disadvantaged people; at-risk communities; socially disadvantaged people; "Social change leaders from vulnerable populations"
Program Model: Community participation; international education

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