Published in The Chronicle Of Philanthropy

By Hilary Pennington and Mark Freeman

Much discussion of late has focused on how the rise of polarization around the globe is affecting politics, democracy, and culture. Very little, however, has been said about its destructive effects on philanthropy — specifically, how increasing polarization threatens to undermine the essential role that philanthropy plays in society.

Polarization, like Covid-19 or systemic racism, has the potential to alter much about how philanthropy is conceived and practiced. The question for societies, as well as for grant makers, is whether we can disrupt polarization before it seriously disrupts us.

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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