At the Ford Foundation, we believe in providing space free from harassment and discrimination, and in being and supporting a community that reflects diversity, equity, and inclusion. Darren Walker and the foundation’s executive leadership team are deeply committed to ensuring that the foundation is a respectful work environment—not only for all our employees, but for all our external partners. Indeed, this commitment is central to our social justice mission.
And so in recent months, we have taken several important steps. We’ve updated our internal policies to provide more clarity around harassment and discrimination reporting. We’ve offered new internal training. We have established guidelines for our program officers in assisting you, our partners, when you raise concerns about your own organizations. And we have made clear that the foundation will not tolerate retaliation against anyone who files a compliant in good faith, with or without anonymity.
We expect our internal standards to extend to the ways our staff engage with others outside the foundation. This is especially important given the complicated power dynamics we know exist between grant-makers and grant-seekers. As a result, we are setting up a service to enable reporting of any issues—including harassment, discrimination, financial impropriety, or other concerns as outlined in our whistleblower policy—and to do so confidentially.
NAVEX EthicsPoint is a new hotline available to foundation staff, grantees, and other partners, as one of several ways to report concerns or complaints about the behavior of Ford Foundation staff. EthicsPoint has been designed to enable anyone who works at or interacts with the foundation to easily report instances of misconduct by the foundation or its employees, anonymously if desired. All complaints will be reported to our legal team and addressed in accordance with the foundation’s policies. The EthicsPoint contact center is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, throughout the year.
We have activated EthicsPoint’s U.S. hotline number: 1-844-246-9964. Shortly, we will also share an international hotline number, with interpretation in more than 200 languages. The majority of non-English language calls are serviced with greater than 98 percent interpreter availability. But if an interpreter cannot be obtained immediately, callers will be given the option to report their concern in English or call back at a later time. In approximately six weeks, we will also implement web-based reporting. When that has launched, we will post an announcement on our website.
All complaints received through the hotline will be reviewed following established procedures set forth in the foundation’s Respect in the Workplace, Whistleblower, and Staff Code of Conduct policies, which are all available on our website.
While we welcome anonymous complaints, it is important to note that such complaints are often harder to investigate than those brought by an identified individual. With that in mind, we strongly recommend that anonymous callers provide as much specific information as possible, allowing for the kind of thorough investigation and follow-up that these complaints deserve.
We believe in the value of having open and honest conversations, and in the importance of sharing concerns and complaints in good faith and without fear of retaliation. EthicsPoint is just the latest tool to help us realize this goal. As always, we welcome your questions and feedback.