Media roundup: our building transformation

A rundown of coverage from outlets including The New York Times, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, and others.

Published in the New York Times | December 16, 2015
A Sensible Makeover for the Ford Foundation
By David W. Dunlap

Going to see the president of the Ford Foundation was once the philanthropic equivalent of going to see the Wizard of Oz.

But there is little reason to stand on ceremony now. So the president’s suite will be among the amenities sacrificed in a $190 million renovation of the Ford Foundation Building, 320 East 43rd Street in Manhattan, that is expected to close it for two years.

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Published on the Huffington Post | December 17, 2015
Transforming a Landmark Into a Center for Social Justice
By Darren Walker

To think about the Ford Foundation's home in New York City is to think about our history, since the two are inextricably intertwined.

Henry II commissioned Kevin Roche, a talented young architect who had worked with Eero Saarinen, to design a modern masterpiece. More than 200 landmark designs later, Roche has earned his place among 20th century America's most influential architects. The Ford Foundation building opened in 1967 to critical acclaim, and Roche went on the win the Pritzker Prize, the most prestigious honor in architecture.

The building, which was designated a New York City landmark in 1997, has become a signature of our identity.

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Published in the Chronicle of Philanthropy | December 17, 2015
Ford’s $190 Million Renovation Carries Message About Philanthropy
By Alex Daniels

The Ford Foundation’s celebrated modernist headquarters has long served for some as a physical embodiment of top-down philanthropy. Now, months after the foundation announced plans to focus entirely on resolving inequality, Ford plans to remake its steel, glass, and granite shell in midtown Manhattan more inviting to nonprofits and the public.

Much of the work on the $190 million overhaul the foundation announced Wednesday is required by municipal code. The building lacks a proper sprinkler system and does not comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act. For nearly three years, Ford’s 375-member New York staff will work out of a temporary office while workers knock down office walls and remove asbestos from the building’s girders.

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Published in Nonprofit Quarterly | December 17, 2015
Iconic Ford Foundation Building to Have a Very Careful but Meaningful Redo
By Ruth McCambridge

There is nothing humble or ordinary about the Ford Foundation Building on Manhattan’s East Side. Its imposing mid-century design by architect Kevin Roche and his engineering partner John Dinkeloo is quite simply awe-inspiring. As I can attest, its appearance can intimidate nervous prospective grantees.

When filled to the brim with resource decision makers, it becomes mildly terrifying or, as Ford Foundation president Darren Walker says, “off-putting.” He writes that the building has “vestigial features” that smack of hierarchy.

So Ford is proceeding carefully but in a way intended to transform the building into a “global center for philanthropy and civil society,” changing the building’s safety and environmental footprint as well as the way the building is experienced by its activist partners.

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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.