Wednesday, September 21, 2022

‘Painful but necessary’: Ford Foundation closes ‘Racial Justice’ grant and shifts funds to ‘movement building’

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Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, said: “Support for education is now the second highest funding category for philanthropy in the United States”

NEW YORK — The Ford Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Ford Motor Company, has announced it will cut its racial justice grant program. Ford Foundation President Darren Walker said in a statement Sept. 16 that “the charity has come to the decision to end Ford Fellowships in the National Academies program by 2028.”

Launched in 2015, the Racial Justice Program was intended to create opportunities for minority academic leaders, which are now to be diverted toward “movement building work.” Walker noted that there was too much money in racial justice programs and that the group wanted to expand in other areas, but did not specify any other means. “To be clear, nobody declares victory for diversity and equity in higher education,” Walker added in the statement.


The Ford Foundation is an independent, not-for-profit funding organization with current assets of $16 billion. Walker said of the project’s completion that philanthropic support for education is now the second highest funding category for philanthropy in the United States. Walker announced that the foundation, which has helped find ways to create diversity in leadership positions in higher academies and to invest money in academic research, has now felt the need to move away from other areas of academic philanthropy and to expand because other charities, like the Gates Foundation, are investing so heavily in programs to advance education.

Darren Walker became President of the Ford Foundation in 2013, one of the largest foundations in the US, established in 1903. In his statement, Walker cited records of the company’s achievements, including spending nearly $1 billion on the project, where he also stated, “This was a painful sacrifice, but a necessary one,” reports the Daily Mail. He added, “To be clear, no one is declaring victory for diversity and equity in higher education, not in the United States, not around the world.” The foundation also announced its plan, the “American Association of People with Disabilities” to provide $1 million to fight discrimination based on disabilities in higher education, reports Forbes. Walker went on to mention that the program will continue as usual through 2023 and will be accepting progressively fewer applications through 2028 as part of its new plans to fund other areas of philanthropy.

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