Alliance magazine interviews Darren Walker

Six months into his role as the Ford Foundation’s 10th president, Darren Walker talks to Alliance Magazine about philanthropy’s role in solving social problems, institution building and his vision for the future of the foundation. “It is deeply gratifying to travel the world and experience the impact of the Ford Foundation because there is no corner of the world where this institution’s rich history has not been felt,” he says.

Published in Alliance Magazine  | June 2014
Darren Walker interview

The car has a new driver. Will he change direction? Will he tinker with the engine? Six months into his job as president of the Ford Foundation, Darren Walker talks to Caroline Hartnell about the experience so far and his intentions for the future of Ford under his stewardship.

What has been your highest priority in your first six months as president of the Ford Foundation?

It’s been to create a culture that is inclusive, participatory and transparent. I’ve used this idea of retooling and re-imagining our culture and our work. I’ve spent a lot of time learning from our history and listening to our grantees, both in the New York office and on site visits to the various places in the United States and the world where we work.

From that listening, have you started to formulate what your priorities are going to be?

What we have learned from this process is that the Ford Foundation has done three things very well: building institutions, investing in people and advancing social innovation. That’s what I think is our comparative advantage and what I will be affirming in the future through our work.

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The Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 80 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.