With each passing day, my heart breaks anew.
I grieve for the victims of Hamas’ terrorism and all of the suffering and trauma it has unleashed—for the more than 1,400 Jews and 5,000 Palestinians killed; for the more than 200 anguished families, anxiously awaiting word about their loved ones held hostage.
I grieve for the communities this crisis has displaced and upended, in Israel and around the world—for all those across the Jewish diaspora reckoning with the vile resurgence of antisemitism and the many victims of Islamophobia.
I grieve for the millions of innocent people—civilians, human beings—who yearn only for peace, but remain trapped in an escalating cycle of violence.
For me, one pressing question is: How can philanthropy make a difference?
I believe, especially in moments like these, that philanthropy must turn toward the pain and peril, not away from it. We must act with urgency and agility, in a way that catalyzes the good works of others. And at the Ford Foundation, we are proud to provide grants to both Jewish- and Palestinian-led efforts—because the long road to relief, to rebuilding, to reconciliation of any kind begins with both peoples.
As ever, we are listening and learning with empathy and compassion. We are supporting those closest, most proximate, to the people and communities in greatest need. We are giving in collaboration—in true partnership—with the public and private sectors, other foundations, and many indispensable civil-society organizations, entrusting grantees with general support and empowering them to deploy resources most effectively.
Of course, some have cautioned that I—and the institution I lead—would be well advised to stay silent and stand pat. As I’ve noted before, Henry Ford, our founder, was among the twentieth century’s most virulent American antisemites. And yet, to me, our past confers a special obligation to engage, not to retreat—no matter the complications or the consequences.
Ultimately, we all must hold fast to the promise of a future in which everyone can live in equality—with human dignity and human rights, with the freedoms and responsibilities of pluralist democracy. History teaches this will not come easy, nor on its own. But together we can and must help to build a just and lasting peace, worthy of our shared humanity.