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Ford Foundation Working with Visionaries on the Frontlines of Social Change Worldwide

Economic Fairness

 
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Expanding opportunities and providing fair and equitable ways for all people to earn a decent living and build economic resources is essential to creating prosperous societies.

Why It Matters

Widely shared economic prosperity not only improves the lives of low-income families and communities, but it is also good for business and the stability and growth of the global economy. Yet, the most basic level of economic security is out of reach for whole segments of society.

One in four American working families struggle to make ends meet. Seventeen percent of Americans have zero or negative net worth. Not one dollar. Worldwide, 1.4 billion people live in extreme poverty—earning less than $1.25 per day—and 2.5 billion adults do not use formal financial services to conduct their financial transactions.

To achieve economic security, families need enough income from their jobs or enterprises to provide for their families' basic needs, save for emergencies, and invest in assets such as a home, education and training, a new or expanded business, or retirement savings. These assets are critical because they build long-term household stability, allowing families to weather crises and unexpected challenges that are an inevitable part of today's world.

The Focus of Our Work

We focus 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.

Worldwide, we work in areas of concentrated poverty—including rural communities and urban neighborhoods—to ensure that residents have access to quality financial products, such as savings, insurance and credit, and business development services that improve the productivity of their livelihoods and access to markets for their goods and services.

In the United States, our work focuses on:

  • Improving and expanding basic labor standards and social protection systems
  • Making it easier for low-income working families to take advantage of government programs and services
  • Broadening access to effective opportunities to gain new skills and move up career ladders
  • Promoting savings through public programs that match savings, and through stronger social insurance programs
  • Improving the regulation of financial markets to increase access for low-income families to responsible financial products
  • Developing innovative financial products and services that are affordable and have the potential to assist households build assets
Grants 2014
Initiative Approved* No. of Grants Avg. Grant*
Total $31,041,427 61 $508,876
Building Economic Security Over a Lifetime 6,793 14 485,215
Ensuring Good Jobs and Access to Services 8,350 12 695,833
Expanding Livelihood Opportunities for Poor Households 6,351 21 302,446
Improving Access to Financial Services 5,917 9 657,450
Promoting the Next-Generation Workforce Strategies 3,630 5 726,000
*US $ In Thousands
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