The new strategy at Ford Foundation gives glimpses of confusion couched in hopeful statements; sowing strong emotional seeds into an amorphous cloud of unknowing.
"It was a disappointing event at the Ford Foundation on January 7. The title of the evening’s program—“Building a New Future: The Role of Foundations in Addressing Inequality”—seemed to promise an exploration of Ford’s new strategy. As announced last June, the foundation plans to focus its grant-making on understanding and remedying inequality at its roots and in all forms—economic, political, racial, gender, and cultural. But when the evening ended, the audience was no wiser about how Ford’s current work will change, what the foundation will do that it hasn’t done before, and, more broadly, how major foundations can wield wealth and influence from a position of privilege without reinforcing inequality in power.
"Hosted by the foundation, Stanford University’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society, and Stanford New York Alumni, the program began with a promo clip for Ford’s new video series #InequalityIs. Elton John, Edward Norton, and a dozen others each defined inequality with painful earnestness. Thankfully, the promo lasted just ninety seconds. Next came the main event—a half-hour Q & A with Stanford Professor of Political Science Rob Reich posing questions and foundation President Darren Walker answering. The program, which ended with questions from the audience, was sandwiched between two rounds of wine and hors-d’oeuvres."--Joanne Barkan, HistPhil.org