Ford Foundation Working with Visionaries on the Frontlines of Social Change Worldwide
Democratic and Accountable Government

Strengthening Civil Society and Philanthropy

  • LinkedIn
  • Google Plus
  • Creative Commons


The goal of this work is to increase the effectiveness of civic organizations by strengthening their infrastructure and regulatory environment.

The Challenge

Robust civic associations can serve as catalysts for social change. Yet, in some countries, nongovernmental organizations lack the legal basis for registration and operation; regulatory frameworks are fragile and the very legitimacy of the sector itself is constantly questioned.

In the United States and other established democracies, regulation has come in the form of new laws that target the nonprofit sector's tax benefits and funding streams, and restrict its right to organize and advocate.

What We're Doing

Our work focuses on strengthening civic organizations and the infrastructure on which they depend. We support policy development to create a legal framework in which civil society can flourish and professional development to enhance the ability of these organizations to function at the highest levels of effectiveness and accountability.

We also fund infrastructure organizations to help keep philanthropy strong and effective in their efforts to support civil society worldwide.

Learn more about how our strategies and approaches shape our grant making.




  • Rakesh Rajani
  • Elizabeth Knup
  • Maurice Makoloo

Sign Up

Please complete all fields unless marked (optional).

Which of Ford’s Issues interest you? Select all that apply. Please select at least one issue.