Darren Walker is president of the Ford Foundation, where he oversees more than $12 billion in assets, $500 million annually in global social justice grants and 10 international offices. He has been a leader in the social sector for more than two decades, including serving as vice president at the Rockefeller Foundation, and his expertise ranges from human rights to urban development to free expression. He spent almost a decade on the frontlines of community development at Harlem’s Abyssinian Development Corporation, after a career working in international finance and law at UBS and Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. Walker voices a unique perspective on the ways that market forces, democratic institutions and an independent nonprofit sector must work together to achieve lasting social change.
The Ford Foundation Mission:
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.
Created with gifts and bequests by Edsel and Henry Ford, the 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.
Twitter – @darrenwalker
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Website – www.fordfoundation.org