In response to COVID-19, the Ford Global Fellows accelerates support for leaders and scales faster with the launch of two new cohorts.
Forty-eight emerging leaders from around the world join the inaugural 24 fellows to build a network of 72 active fellows working to tackle global drivers of inequality.
New York - The Ford Foundation announced today the launch of 48 new Ford Global Fellows, doubling the number of fellows slated for this year to provide more leaders the critical support they need now in the face of the pandemic. The fellowships will provide these emerging leaders with the tools, networks, and solidarity they need to work better, smarter, and more sustainably in the long haul.
Compounded by vaccine inequity, job precarity, climate change, rising authoritarianism, and racial and gender inequity, COVID-19 has laid bare the crisis of inequality with a renewed urgency to combat it. In response, the Ford Foundation is scaling up its flagship global fellowship program to support leaders from communities who face injustice head on, and help them cultivate their ideas and energy in solving long-standing inequalities exposed or exacerbated by the pandemic.
“We are scaling the Ford Global Fellows faster because this crisis moment requires bolder commitments to creating a more just and equitable future,” says Adria Goodson, director of the Ford Global Fellowship. “People who are most proximate to injustice are stepping up and surfacing solutions to local challenges driven by global structures of inequality. More than ever, these emerging leaders across the globe need each other to strengthen and accelerate their ideas. We aim to support Fellows as they build lasting networks and institutions that carry the work forward.”
Launched in 2020, the Ford Global Fellows identifies, connects, and supports the next generation of social justice leaders around the globe who are advancing innovative solutions to end inequality. The $50 million fellowship program is building a robust network of 240 emerging leaders over ten years and catalyzing a powerful set of relationships and resources that create a multiplier effect in the work to combat inequality at the systems level, and globally.
“Progress is not possible without leaders who have the audacity to imagine a brighter future and steer us toward that vision,” says Hilary Pennington, Ford’s executive vice president of programs. “In the face of this pandemic, we need leaders who are deeply aware of the systems and structures at play and seek solutions from different people, places, and cultures. We need leaders who make ideas grow and institutions work. The Ford Foundation is proud to work together with the fellows to build a powerful global community with a shared vision.”
Ford has adapted the fellowship to meet the urgency of the crises. All 24 inaugural fellows will extend their fellowship for two more years. With 48 new fellows joining this year, a total of 72 active fellows will be working together to build a Community of Practice, strengthen their networks with change makers in the broader social justice field, build influence, and advance ideas and solutions across issues, borders, sectors and contexts.
All three cohorts of the Ford Global Fellows represent a broad range of backgrounds, fields, and approaches to addressing inequality—with areas of focus that range from promoting equal rights and opportunities for women and girls, securing rights for indigenous and traditional communities, to increasing political and economic power of people with disabilities, and more. Many are from directly impacted communities and emerged as leaders drawing from their own lived experience with the challenges of inequality.
The Ford Global Fellows focuses on experiential learning to help leaders learn from each other’s work across context, geography, and issue areas in order to advance their own work. Fellows will nurture each other by weaving together a Community of Practice over ten years and create opportunities for learning, collaborating, and creating knowledge and practices. The Community of Practice will consist of past, present, and future cohorts and grantmakers at the Ford Foundation. Fellows will also engage with Ford grantees and other networks of leaders from the broader social justice field. The fellowship provides individualized coaching to help grow leadership skills along with efforts to help fellows reach audiences they may not already be reaching, including in the philanthropic sector. Each new fellow will receive a no-strings-attached $25,000 stipend.
Over the decades, Ford has stood behind extraordinary individuals and leaders who have changed the world, often before they made their marks. The Ford Global Fellows builds on the Ford Foundation’s pioneering, decade-long International Fellowships Program and continues its storied legacy as a fellowship provider. The program also builds on the Foundation’s longstanding commitment and significant investments in combating the root causes of inequality on a global scale, and its work to support institutions, individuals, and ideas.
To learn more about the new Ford Global Fellows, please visit this link.
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