New York – Today, the Ford Foundation released “Reimagine Recovery: a playbook for an equitable future” which captures how leaders and decision-makers can rethink and reshape social, economic, political and governance systems for a more just and equitable future at a pivotal moment for societal transformation. The three-part guide features critical lessons and offers urgent solutions from both global organizations fighting the pandemic’s devastating effects firsthand and innovative business leaders seeking to better the way we work and live.
In June 2020, Ford launched an unprecedented $1 billion social bond to help nonprofits weather the challenges presented by COVID-19. As the pandemic evolves, Ford's focus has shifted from short-term relief to advancing a sustained recovery that is more inclusive of disproportionately affected communities, holds multinational institutions that govern the way we live to account, and lays the foundation for a more inclusive economy that puts workers at the forefront.
“COVID-19 overwhelmed every facet of our societies, and we will see its reverberations for generations to come. Yet, we are at a pivotal point where we can decide what these impacts will be and how they will shape our collective futures. In order to achieve this, we need to move from relief to recovery and beyond reform to reimagination,” said Ford Foundation president Darren Walker. “Reimagine Recovery takes a holistic look at the interrelated issues that we cannot ignore, and outlines solutions for change. Taken together, these ideas and initiatives call us to envision a new world, where power and privilege are kept in check and social, economic and political opportunities are more evenly distributed, and unnecessary conflict and oppression are a matter of the past.”
“Over two years into this global pandemic, it’s clear that COVID-19 is not only a defining moment of our past, but of our present and future. Now is not the time to go back to what we once accepted as ‘normal,’ but to redefine the way we live and transition from a system of inequality and exclusion, to a system of inclusion and care,” said Hilary Pennington, executive vice president of programs. “This playbook shines a light on many of the deep-seated systemic inequities COVID-19 has exposed, highlights our partners’ work to fight for an inclusive recovery, and considers a path toward a more equitable future.”
Centered around reimagining three core areas – work, life, and balance – the playbook outlines priorities identified by Ford Foundation’s partner organizations around the world as many countries prepare for a future where COVID-19 is endemic. The playbook emphasizes the urgent need to address the widespread systemic inequities that have long existed, and were laid bare at the height of the pandemic.
The key areas of focus are:
- Making work more inclusive for all people regardless of their ability, gender, race, or background.
- Strengthening rights and protections for workers to ensure equal access to labor and social protections, as well as opportunities to shape the policies and systems that affect workers’ lives, particularly in the Global South.
- Expanding access to capital by prioritizing purpose alongside profit and the needs of all stakeholders in addition to shareholders.
- Make vaccines accessible to all instead of benefitting mostly wealthy nations while low and middle income nations lag needlessly behind.
- Protect the planet from climate change, which shares many of the same root causes as pandemics.
- Advance racial, gender, and disability justice with the understanding that certain communities have been hit hardest by COVID, the same communities that have borne the brunt of a long history of injustices.
- Make technology more accessible and equitable by making sure that the technology that connects us remains accessible to all. More than half of the world’s population lacks access to the internet, which is crucial to sharing critical information that can save lives, connect people, and lift up communities.
- Protect and promote civic space and engagement so people across the globe are empowered to participate in the political, economic, and cultural systems that shape their lives.
- Bolster international cooperation so that the brunt of future crises no longer falls on the shoulders of middle to low-income countries, exacerbating longstanding inequalities on a global scale.
- Stem the rise of polarization that fuels division and misinformation and stands in the way of collaborative efforts to solve urgent crises that are far too often impacting underrepresented populations at an alarming rate.
For an in-depth look at Reimagine Recovery, visit the Ford Foundation website.
“The pandemic and the racial reckoning our country experienced over the past two years revealed the starkness of inequality in our society. It is critical that we recover and rebuild in a way that is equitable for all. The Ford Foundation has been leading this effort since the beginning of the pandemic, especially in their partnership in the Corporate Call to Action, demonstrating how corporate America can be part of the solution,” said Connecticut State Treasurer Shawn T. Wooden. “I’m proud to see the work that they’ve put into the Reimagine Recovery playbook, which lays out how to best reform our social, economic, and political systems with equity at their core.”
“The recovery from COVID-19 has created a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a more equitable economy that sustains and uplifts everyone,” said Rachel Korberg, Executive Director of Families and Workers Fund. “The Ford Foundation’s new Reimagine Recovery playbook is both a celebration of our ongoing work together and a roadmap to help harness today’s momentum and shape a recovery with equity at its core.”
“Through our mission to provide access to equity ownership for workers and their families, we see a better future emerging from this period, made even more difficult by the pandemic,” said Anna-Lisa Miller, Executive Director of Ownership Works. “Ownership Works is pleased to partner with the Ford Foundation as they chart a path for organizations across sectors to reimagine recovery for all.”
“The starkly unequal distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments is a symptom of a broken system,” said Julia Kosgei, Policy and Advocacy Advisor of The People’s Vaccine Alliance. “The Ford Foundation has laid out an alternative vision where global health comes before the interests of rich countries and pharmaceutical companies.”
"COVID-19 showed us how Indigenous peoples and local communities' ancestral knowledge and practices can lead the way to more resilient food systems, and even prevent future pandemics by protecting forests,” said Levi Sucre, Alianza Mesoamericana de Pueblos y Bosques Coordinator. “This playbook makes those lessons readily available."
“The Global Initiative on Polarization – a unique multi-year collaboration between The Ford Foundation and the Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT) – aims to bring a more global, practice-driven and solution-oriented perspective to the complex problem of polarization. Ford’s Playbook recognizes this growing threat to democracy and peace, and highlights how stemming the rise of polarization is critical to an equitable recovery,” said Mark Freeman, Executive Director of the Institute for Integrated Transitions. “Using field research, global convenings, and country casework, Ford and IFIT will help to foster new thinking and highlight promising strategies for preventing and mitigating the most dangerous and destructive forms of polarization across very diverse contexts.”