The New York Times explores a shift in philanthropy toward making “big bets” in working to solve major social challenges.

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.

The Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent organization working to address inequality and build a future grounded in justice. For more than 85 years, it has supported visionaries 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. Today, with an endowment of $16 billion, the foundation has headquarters in New York and 10 regional offices across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

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