Portrait of Francisco G. Cigarroa.

Francisco Cigarroa

Chair, Board of Trustees Professor of Surgery, Director of Pediatric Transplantation, The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio, Texas

Darren Walker

President, Ford Foundation New York, USA
Portrait of Ursula Burns.

Ursula Burns

Founding Partner, Integrum Holdings; Executive Chair, Teneo Holdings LLC; Retired Executive Chair and CEO, Xerox Corporation and VEON, Ltd. New York, New York
Portrait of Catalina Devandas Aguilar

Catalina Devandas

Executive Director, Disability Rights Fund Geneva, Switzerland
Portrait of Amy C. Falls.

Amy C. Falls

Vice President and Chief Investment Officer, Northwestern University Evanston, Illinois
Portrait of Henry Ford III.

Henry Ford III

Director, Ford Motor Company Detroit, Michigan
Portrait of Laurene Powell Jobs

Laurene Powell Jobs

Founder and President, Emerson Collective Palo Alto, California
Portrait of Thomas L. Kempner Jr.

Thomas Kempner, Jr.

Retired Executive Managing Member, Davidson Kempner Capital Management Southampton, New York
Portrait of Lourdes Lopez.

Lourdes Lopez

Artistic Director, Miami City Ballet Miami, Florida
Portrait of Paula Moreno.

Paula Moreno

President, Manos Visibles Bogota, Colombia
Portrait of Gbenga Oyebode.

Gbenga Oyebode

Of Counsel, Aluko & Oyebode Lagos, Nigeria
Ai-jen Poo

Ai-jen Poo

President, National Domestic Workers Alliance Chicago, Illinois
Portrait of Chuck Robbins.

Chuck Robbins

Chairman and CEO, Cisco Systems San Jose, California
Portrait of Bryan Stevenson.

Bryan Stevenson

Founder & Executive Director, Equal Justice Initiative Montgomery, Alabama
Portait of Gabrielle Sulzberger.

Gabrielle Sulzberger

Senior Adviser, Two Sigma Impact; Chair, Global ESG Advisory, Teneo New York, New York

Ford Foundation trustees set policies relating to grantmaking, geographic focus, spending, investment, management, governance, and professional standards, and review the performance of the president. The Audit Committee of the board oversees independent audits and sets the compensation of all officers.

Our Board of Trustees is currently composed of 15 members, including the president. Nominated by the Nominating and Governance Committee and appointed by the full board, trustees may serve up to two six-year terms. The board, board committees, and individual trustees are evaluated on a regular basis by the Nominating and Governance Committee.

Foundation trustees bring a vast range of knowledge and experience to the task of governing the foundation. Over the years, trustees have hailed from five continents, and they have extensive experience in the worlds of higher education, business, law, government, technology, health care, nonprofit management, the arts, and the civic sector.

The president

The trustees select the president, who implements board policies and oversees foundation programs and operations on a day-to-day basis. The trustees and the president, along with other senior staff, share the responsibility of representing the foundation in the public sphere. The president continually reexamines our work, looking for opportunities to hone our strategies and improve our effectiveness. The president meets with people around the world to help deepen the foundation’s grasp of different perspectives on how to solve problems. In addition to overseeing operations, the president works to communicate what we have learned to a broad array of audiences and strives to strengthen the philanthropic sector’s performance, legal compliance, and transparency.


The board’s oversight of grantmaking

Our Board of Trustees determines the substantive areas and geographic focus of the foundation’s grantmaking. Within the budget approved by the board, the foundation makes about 1,400 grants throughout the year. The board has delegated authority for approving these grants to the president and senior staff. However, all trustees serve on one of the board’s program committees, which help design program strategy. Membership on the committees rotates so that trustees serving two terms become steeped in the work of all program areas and contribute to their development and assessment. The trustees review approved grants at their regular board meetings, which take place three times a year. During annual board program trips, trustees meet grant recipients in the US and globally and learn about their work.


Trustee independence

The Ford Foundation places high value on the independence of our board members. We require that a majority of our trustees be independent and that all trustees serving on the Audit Committee meet a heightened independence standard. When the staff proposes that the foundation fund an organization with which a trustee, or the spouse, domestic partner, or child of a trustee, is affiliated as an officer, director, trustee, or employee, that grant must be reviewed and approved by the Audit Committee. The grant action document—which is reviewed and approved by management before submission to the Audit Committee—discloses the nature of the trustee affiliation and confirms that the trustee played no role in the initiation or negotiation of the grant.

Learn more about the foundation’s governance policies.

Board Committees

Audit Committee

The Audit Committee assists the Board of Trustees with respect to financial reporting, internal control, and audits, and also supports the foundation’s process for monitoring its compliance with laws and regulations, Trustee and Officer Code of Ethics and Conflict of Interest Policy, and the Whistleblower Policy. The Audit Committee appoints and manages the outside auditor. The committee also sets the officers’ compensation.


Executive Committee

The Executive Committee works with the foundation’s executive officers and acts for the board between board meetings. Trustee committees dedicated to specific topics meet regularly and guide foundation activities throughout the year.


Finance Committee

The Finance Committee works to ensure that the board is fulfilling its oversight responsibilities. The committee makes recommendations on long-range financial plans, and also reviews and monitors the foundation’s spending policy and budget, including program and management appropriations and capital spending.


Investment Committee

The Investment Committee is responsible for formulating overall investment policies, subject to approval by the Board of Trustees, and establishing investment guidelines. The committee monitors the management of the portfolio for compliance with the investment policies and guidelines and for meeting performance objectives over time.


Mission-Related Investment Committee

The Mission-Related Investment Committee will assist the Board of Trustees in developing and implementing an impact investing strategy for the foundation.


Nominating and Governance Committee

The Nominating and Governance Committee helps identify and recommend candidates for board membership; helps review, develop, and enhance trustee orientation programs; and reviews the foundation’s governance policies and procedures.


Justice & Equality Program Committee 1

The Program Committees give the trustees an opportunity to deepen their knowledge of an area of the foundation’s overall program and to contribute to program development and assessment.

Program Committee 1 focuses on China in the World; Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Justice; Natural Resources and Climate Change; Tech and Society


Justice & Equality Program Committee 2

The Program Committees give the trustees an opportunity to deepen their knowledge of an area of the foundation’s overall program and to contribute to program development and assessment.

Program Committee 2 focuses on Civic Engagement and Governance, Creativity and Free Expression, Future of Work(ers)