For more than 50 years, the Ford Foundation has worked with visionary leaders and organizations in Chile to strengthen democracy, promote social justice, and build more inclusive societies. Since we made our first grants to the country in the 1950’s, opening an office in Santiago in the 1960s, the foundation has been privileged to be part of the country’s incredible progress. All told, we have invested nearly $200 million in Chile, and we could not be more gratified that vast numbers of Chileans now benefit from the gains of democracy. They are pointing the way toward a more fair, more just, more peaceful world—a world replete with opportunity and mobility for all.


In a recorded message, President Michelle Bachelet kicked off the day’s discussion. She recognized Diego Portales University and the Ford Foundation for their contributions to critical social and political processes in Chile.

This mini-documentary features a sampling of the impactful work of the foundation’s many partners who have had an important role in the country’s social and political transformation.


Diego Portales University took to the street to find out what democracy means to Chileans. Among the diverse responses: “trash,” “a few people making decisions for the majority of people,” “a utopia,” “participation and power” and “a way of life.”


On the street, interviews yielded diverse (and sometimes unsettling) responses on the subject of indigenous communities.



CNN Chile, “Democracy in Chile After the Military Dictatorship,” November 12, 2015

Martín Abregú, the foundation’s vice president of Democracy, Rights, and Justice, speaks on CNN Chile about Ford’s support for social justice in the region over the past 25 years of democracy—and before that, during South America’s oppressive dictatorships.

Bio Bio Chile, “Free seminar will be held tomorrow, ‘25 Years of Democracy in Chile,’” November 12, 2015
With support from the foundation, la Universidad Diego Portales in Chile hosted a week-long celebration of “25 Years of Democracy in Chile” that featured academics Harald Beyer, Manuel Antonio Garretón, and Claudio Fuentes on strengthening democracy, empowering indigenous communities, and promoting human rights.

  • Civic Engagement and Government

  • Equitable Development

  • Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Justice