Created with gifts and bequests by Edsel and Henry Ford, the Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit, nongovernmental organization, with its own board, and is entirely separate from the Ford Motor Company. The trustees of the foundation set policy and delegate authority to the president and senior staff for the foundation’s grant making and operations. Program officers in the United States, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Latin America explore opportunities to pursue the foundation’s goals, formulate strategies and recommend proposals for funding.
In 2009, they distributed more than $490 million in grants worldwide.
We believe all people should have the opportunity to reach their full potential, contribute to society, and have voice in the decisions that affect them. We believe the best way to achieve these goals is to encourage initiatives by those living and working closest to where problems are located; to promote collaboration among the nonprofit, government and business sectors; and to ensure participation by men and women from diverse communities and all levels of society. In our experience, such activities help build common understanding, enhance excellence, enable people to improve their lives and reinforce their commitment to society.
We work mainly by making grants or loans that build knowledge and strengthen organizations and networks. Since our financial resources are modest compared with societal needs, we focus on key problem areas and program strategies.
Our goals for more than half a century have been to:
• Strengthen democratic values
• Reduce poverty and injustice
• Promote international cooperation
• Advance human achievement
The foundation works in three program areas. They encompass our nine issue areas and the corresponding initiatives through which we make our grants.
I) Economic Opportunity and Assets
Reducing poverty and establishing economic security. We focus on helping people build individual and shared assets, including natural resources that sustain livelihoods in rural communities, marketable skills that enable people to improve their earning power, and pioneering programs that make it possible for low-income families to save and to access opportunities in broader metropolitan economies.
II) Democracy, Rights and Justice
Strengthening democracy and advancing human rights for all. We support efforts to build more democratic and accountable governments by strengthening the rule of law, giving people a voice in the institutions that affect their lives, and promoting human rights. All of this work is guided by a commitment to human dignity.
III) Education, Creativity and Free Expression
Promoting more equitable education and greater voice and expression. We support transformative education and scholarship programs, public interest media, religious expression, arts spaces and reproductive health and rights. Central to our work is the belief that knowledge, creativity and understanding enrich people's lives and advance societies.
Our programs address nine significant social justice issues. These issues are grounded in our mission and history:
1. Democratic and Accountable Government
2. Economic Fairness
3. Educational Opportunity and Scholarship
4. Freedom of Expression
5. Human Rights
6. Metropolitan Opportunity
7. Sexuality and Reproductive Health and Rights
8. Social Justice Philanthropy
9. Sustainable Development
Where We Work:
We believe the best way to fulfill our mission is to encourage initiatives by those living and working closest to where problems are located. We work in all 50 U.S. states and in 10 regions around the world. Nearly half of our staff is based outside the United States.
• Eastern Africa
• Middle East and North Africa
• Southern Africa
• West Africa
• India, Nepal and Sri Lanka
• Andean Region and Southern Cone
• Mexico and Central America
Where is Ford Foundation