NEW YORK (April 7, 2021) – The Ford Foundation announced today the extension of the 2015 Building Institutions and Networks (BUILD) initiative, which had provided $1 billion dollars in flexible funding to social justice organizations around the world to help them more effectively achieve their core goals and build their resilience for the long term. The second edition of BUILD will disburse another $1 billion in grant dollars spanning all of Ford’s programmatic areas and regions. The next round of five-year BUILD grants will be awarded starting in January 2022.

BUILD provides multi-level support through a combination of long-term commitments, flexible funding, and institutional strengthening to help grantees become more resilient and effective.

“Our transformative BUILD initiative has been instrumental in giving grantees the ability to quickly adapt to unforeseen challenges, which became more important than ever this past year,” said Ford Foundation executive vice president for programs Hilary Pennington. “We will continue to work in lockstep with our partners by giving them the resources and the flexibility they need to carry out their important work, without the burden of restrictive frameworks that may limit their capacity to make real change in times of need.”

“BUILD is rooted in our strong belief that collaboration, trust, and transparency should be at the center of all of our partnerships. We are incredibly proud of the work that we’ve accomplished under BUILD over the past few years, and we are excited to move forward to better support our grantees’ vital work and build a better future for all,” said Ford Foundation director of BUILD Kathy Reich.

“Support from Ford’s BUILD program helped transform Alliance for Safety and Justice from an idea to a high-impact institution with real staying power. We could not be more grateful for the support and partnership of the BUILD initiative over the past five years and are thrilled that Ford is recommitting to this transformative program,” said Lenore Anderson, President and CEO of Alliance for Safety and Justice.

In 2015, the Ford Foundation launched its BUILD initiative as a $1 billion dollar commitment to building institutions and networks. BUILD provides 5-year commitments, general operating support, and dedicated funding for institutional strengthening to grantee partners to build more durable, resilient, and impactful organizations and networks to combat inequality.

The Foundation has given BUILD grants to nearly 350 organizations since its launch, more than half of which concentrate their work in the Global South. More than 60 percent of the organizations that have received BUILD grants are led by women.

The foundation has learned some key lessons from the initial launch of BUILD:

  • BUILD works for a variety of institutions of different sizes, structures, stages, places, and contexts, serving both younger, smaller emergent organizations, as well as large, established organizations.
  • BUILD grants can contribute to a ripple effect, where not only does the grantee become stronger and more effective, but so do its closest partners, members, and stakeholders.
  • BUILD helps groups to create the conditions for mission success by helping organizations create clearer long-term strategies, invest in their financial sustainability, and make critical investments in talent and leadership.

In March of 2020, the Ford Foundation joined 800 other grant giving entities in signing the philanthropy pledge, to provide grantees with the flexibility and grace to respond quickly and confidently in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Foundation views its $1 billion additional commitment to BUILD as part of its commitment to fulfilling the pledge.

For more information on what we’ve learned and the progress we’ve made with BUILD, please see the BUILD Evaluation’s Interim Report.

For more information about BUILD, see our frequently asked questions here.

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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