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Investing in Individuals

We invest in the individuals, ideas and institutions essential to addressing the complex, deeply rooted drivers of inequality. We believe individuals drive ideas and make institutions run and, together, they create lasting social change.

Over the last 80 years, we have supported leaders such as Kofi Annan, Muhammad Yunus, and Condoleezza Rice and writers such as James Baldwin, Saul Bellow and Katherine Anne Porter. We have also fostered the development of countless individuals from communities around the globe, from constitutional lawyers in South Africa to doctorate students of color in the United States.

These individuals, each in their own way, are game-changers who brought new and emerging ideas to the table and went on to lead and build institutions that have made a meaningful dent in the fight for social justice.

Here are some of our latest efforts to support leaders around the world.

Ford Global Fellowship

In 2020, we created the Ford Global Fellowship, a unique program that builds on all we’ve learned throughout our decades of supporting individuals around the world. Our aim is to build a cohort of promising leaders working to address inequality and give them the space and support to learn and grow together over 18 months. The 10-year program will bring together 240 fellows from every region in which we work and give them the support to work better, faster and deeper.

Meet the Global Fellows

International Fellowships Program

Launched in 2001, the International Fellowships Program was a $280-million commitment—one of the largest ever made by the foundation—to advance the education of social justice leaders across the globe. Over its 12 years, more than 4,300 fellows from 22 countries completed a graduate or post-graduate program. Today, its alumni are working to improve their communities and make their mark in their respective countries—holding public office, heading international and government agencies, building civil society organizations, and mobilizing grassroots campaigns to defend the rights of all people.

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Ford-Mozilla Open Web Fellows

In 2015, we launched a fellowship in partnership with the Mozilla Foundation to build the field of public interest technology and advance the movement to keep the internet a global public resource accessible to all. It was a landmark initiative to create a worldwide community of public interest technologists, who offer both technical expertise and a social justice lens, to protect the free, open web from emerging threats. The fellowship has evolved over the years to address issues at the nexus of technology and social justice and ensure technology advances, rather than undermines, equality and justice.

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