A "renewed sense of philanthropic ambition"

The New York Times explores a shift in philanthropy toward making “big bets” in working to solve major social challenges. The Ford Foundation is highlighted for our recently announced focus on inequality. “Inequality brings a coherence that connects our work,” the foundation’s president, Darren Walker, told the paper. Details of the new approach will be revealed in the coming days, and Walker made it clear that the foundation will be looking “to finance causes that work to ease the underlying reasons for and conditions of inequality, rather than simply promoting worthwhile programs.”

Published in the New York Times | October 31, 2015
Major Foundations, Eager for Big Change, Aim High
By David Gelles

Climate change, inequality and a broken criminal justice system are the issues du jour, commanding headlines and emerging as major talking points in the presidential campaign, at least for Democrats. They are also, increasingly, the focus of some of the nation’s largest philanthropies.


The Ford Foundation, with its $10 billion endowment, said this year that it would direct all its giving — about $500 million annually — to combating inequality.


The Rockefeller Foundation, with an endowment of more than $4 billion, is focusing on the theme of resilience, in the hope that its grants will make cities and communities more sustainable.


And the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, with its $6.3 billion endowment, is shaping its giving around “big bets,” including combating climate change and reforming the criminal justice system.

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The Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 75 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.