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

Building Economic Security Over a Lifetime

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The goal of this work is to promote social protection programs that help low-income families achieve economic stability.

The Challenge

Worldwide, poor households have a hard time building assets. Their incomes are barely adequate to cover daily living expenses, leaving them few, if any, resources to save for emergencies or toward long-term economic security.

Most governments lack adequate social protection programs to reduce the vulnerability of their citizens. In 2006, $746 billion in direct federal spending and tax subsidies went to programs intended to promote economic mobility, but most of the benefits went to upper-income Americans and bypassed the majority of people who needed the benefits the most.

Expanding opportunities for poor and low-income families worldwide to access public and private programs that encourage savings would enable families to build economic security over a lifetime.

What We're Doing

In the United States, our work promotes public support for policies that create universal and progressive savings accounts as well as Social Security reforms that increase benefits for low-wage workers.

Internationally, we concentrate on helping people accumulate savings through programs that combine matched savings services with conditional cash transfer programs (which reward low-income families for adhering to the requirements of a "social contract") to create permanent financial assets for poor households.

The focus of all of our work is on the development and maintenance of permanent social protection programs that can create financial assets that break the intergenerational cycle of poverty.

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

What We're Following




  • Frank F. DeGiovanni

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