Published in Stanford Social Innovation Review

By Bess Rothenberg

When the #MeToo movement went viral in 2017, an avalanche of revelations rocked the fields that philanthropy invests in, from arts to media to politics. But within a few months, #MeToo complaints began surfacing within philanthropy itself, reminding us that no organization is immune. The allegations were disturbing: of discrimination being repeatedly ignored and of far too many examples of accusers leaving the organization while the accused kept their positions. Boards and funders received reports about serious misconduct yet had not responded. A few cases even involved forcible sexual abuse.

The scale and momentum of the #MeToo movement compelled the Ford Foundation to take a long, hard look in the mirror. What should be our role in responding to abuses of power within the organizations we support? In preventing them? Had we been doing enough?

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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