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Reimagine Recovery: A Playbook for an Equitable Future

May 6, 2022

We cannot allow ourselves to resume what was; we must reimagine what can be. True recovery requires us to acknowledge the unjust structures and policies that, in many ways, led to and compounded the devastation of the pandemic. It calls for us to examine our obsession with the idea of rapid growth at all costs and establish a shared understanding of inclusive, sustainable growth that results in equal opportunity—and equitable outcomes. It demands us to recognize our global web of mutuality and come together to collectively address the problems ahead with humility and reciprocity. And it challenges us to realize a bold, hopeful reimagination of our social, economic, political and governance systems, with equity and interdependence at their core.Reimagine Recovery: A Playbook for an Equitable Future offers a detailed vision of such recovery, beginning in the places we work and live and extending to our largest global stages. Like much of our work at the Ford Foundation, the playbook asks: What's possible when everyone can fully participate in society and has the opportunity to shape their lives? What's possible when we follow the lead of leaders and organizations building solutions for—and with—historically excluded communities? What's possible when we shift our old ways of operating and include equity in our execution of every policy and cultivation of every movement?

Evaluation of the Immigrant Rights Portfolio Strategy (2015–2020): Summary Report

April 1, 2022

Since the late 1980s, many policymakers and members of the American public have viewed enforcement as the principal tool of the United States immigration system, either to deter migrants from coming to the country without papers or to punish immigrants who (intentionally or unintentionally) fail to comply with immigration law. As a result, hundreds of thousands of immigrants are arrested and placed in deportation proceedings, or otherwise removed from the U.S., with a disproportionate impact on Black immigrants.Before we launched our strategy in 2015, we listened closely to our grantees whose constituents were directly affected by detentions and deportations that persisted despite policymakers' avowed support for immigrants. Recognizing that immigrants' needs for family unity and an end to harsh enforcement were unlikely to be met through comprehensive immigration reform in Congress, the Immigrant Rights portfolio focused on supporting advocates working on enforcement reform and their goals. In making this commitment, Ford was the first major U.S. philanthropy to establish ending harsh enforcement as a principal focus of its immigrant rights strategy.Over a matter of five years, we invested nearly $118 million in organizations working to achieve changes in advocacy and policy, build the field, and shift the narrative around immigrants. This included approximately $43 million invested through our BUILD initiative and approximately $23 million distributed through our 2020 Social Justice Bond. We provided general support to organizations representing immigrants directly impacted by harsh enforcement, as well as to longstanding grantees who were using litigation, mobilization, advocacy, and communications as tactics that reinforced one another. Other funding helped the movement confront strategic gaps and challenges, draw on expert advice, bring organizations together for collaborative learning, and strengthen philanthropic partnerships.In the fall of 2020, we partnered with consultants Kathleen Sullivan and David Shorr to evaluate this strategy, deepen our learning, and make informed decisions on where to focus moving forward. The evaluation concluded in spring 2021.

Funding Performance: How Great Donors Invest in Grantee Success

June 1, 2021

The Funding Performance campaign encourages funders to rise to the urgency of this moment. You'll find no pie-in-the-sky theory in the resources on this page. Instead, you'll find practical advice about the specific practices that produce outsized progress on urgent issues of our time.The centerpiece of this campaign is Funding Performance: How Great Donors Invest in Grantee Success (2021), a Jim Collins–style monograph intended to generate positive peer pressure among foundations and individual donors.The monograph features insightful essays by eight highly respected thinkers and doers: Hilary Pennington, Ford Foundation; Daniel Stid, Hewlett Foundation; Sam Cobbs, Tipping Point Community; Jeff Bradach and Jeri Eckhart Queenan, Bridgespan; Lowell Weiss, Leap Ambassadors support team; Hilda Polanco and Deborah Linnell, FMA. All of these essayists have vantage points that have given them a close-up look at the best and worst practices in our sector. In Funding Performance, they share both—in the hope of turning this moment of crisis into a moment of truth and then a moment of productive pivot.

Reconstructing American News: Investing In The Transformation Of Journalistic Processes And Power Relations To Strengthen Civil Society

July 1, 2020

At the time of this writing, early June 2020, COVID-19 cases are rising or holding steady in a majority of states, disproportionately killing Native Americans, Blacks, Latinos, and people with disabilities. The nation is roiled by civil unrest following the brutal killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis and other deaths at the hands of law enforcement officers. In many ways, we have spiraled back to the trauma of the late '60s, with a pandemic added to the mix. Newsrooms across the nation are also having fierce internal debates about what constitutes good coverage and staffing. The degree to which they are prepared to have these conversations often relies on the level of transparency and openness to innovation, in a way that goes far beyond placing content on the tech platform du jour.

What It Really Takes to Influence Funder Practice

December 1, 2019

Influence is key to our work at the Ford Foundation and to philanthropy as a whole.Many of us in this space combine forces to shift how government, business, and nonprofits tackle urgent problems such as climate change, poverty, or threats to democracy. We also want to influence how the sector as a whole leverages philanthropy—whether this means a shift to giving larger grants, creating more flexible grants, or designing grants through a lens of diversity—in pursuit of a more equitable world.As important as this work is, we don't have a solid understanding of why certain efforts are effective in creating the influence they intend and what causes others to fail.To improve our understanding, we commissioned Milway Consulting to look at 12 independent initiatives aimed to influence how grantmakers and others engage in philanthropy and identify what advanced and prevented the adoption of good practice.

Leveraging Higher Education to Promote Social Justice: Evidence from the IFP Alumni Tracking Study

March 1, 2019

The fifth report from Ford Foundation's 10-year tracking study of the Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program (IFP), Leveraging Higher Education to Promote Social Justice: Evidence from the IFP Alumni Tracking Study finds that IFP alumni are prepared to confront social injustices and have received promotions in their careers as a result of participating in the program.Study results showed that responding IFP alumni believed that IFP helped them develop personal and professional attributes that have helped them achieve career success and combat social injustices. Nearly 84 percent of responding alumni said they were employed, while 89 percent received a promotion at work that they attributed to IFP, and 83 percent are currently in leadership positions. In total, 1,284 alumni from 22 countries responded to the survey, representing 33 percent of the IFP population.

Fellowships and Research Grants Programs in the Middle East and North Africa: An Overview

May 15, 2018

From the 1970s to the present, the Ford Foundation's investment in fellowship and research grant programs in the Middle East and North Africa has expanded access to high-level academic and professional opportunities, particularly for marginalized groups. How effective have these efforts been in advancing progress toward broader goals, such as network building, expanding the pool of social justice leaders, leveling the playing field for disadvantaged populations, and laying the groundwork for more equitable public policies? In this report, program officer Moushira Elgeziri reviews four major programs, outlines their successes and shortfalls, and distills a set of lessons that can inform the design of current and future awards programs. The report underscores the importance of defining target populations and disciplinary scope, while remaining receptive—and responsive—to constituency needs as they arise. It points to potential missteps for programs attempting to become less dependent on primary funders. And it stresses the need to develop ways to gauge the more intangible and less immediate impacts these programs have on individuals and their communities.

Participatory Grantmaking: Has Its Time Come?

November 15, 2017

The Ford Foundation commissioned this paper to explore participatory approaches, especially participatory grantmaking, and their potential use by foundations. The paper synthesizes several existing participatory frameworks, identifies common components, and applies these to philanthropy as a "starter" framework that can, hopefully, be used as a springboard for ongoing discussion and development among grantmakers and non-grantmakers.

Preserving the Essence, Adapting for Reach: Early Lessons from Large-Scale Implementations of the Graduation Approach

November 1, 2016

This synthesis analysis provides an overview of these four programs' initial efforts in scaling up the Graduation Approach. It focuses primarily on lessons learned that may be valuable for other institutions and agencies implementing, or considering implementing, a large-scale Graduation program. But first, the synthesis analysis treats some general observations about the evolution of the Graduation Approach and some of the priorities of the community of practice that has grown up around it.

Preserving the Essence, Adapting for Reach: Early Lessons from Large-Scale Implementations of the Graduation Approach, Four Case Studies and Synthesis Analysis

November 1, 2016

Among the development approaches aimed at reaching the extreme poor, one of the most promising has been the "Graduation Approach," originally developed by BRAC in Bangladesh. BRAC's theory of change was that with the right mix of interventions, offered in the right sequence, households could "graduate" from extreme poverty into sustainable livelihoods within a defined time period.This synthesis analysis provides an overview of these four programs' initial efforts in scaling up the Graduation Approach. It focuses primarily on lessons learned that may be valuable for other institutions and agencies implementing, or considering implementing, a large-scale Graduation program.

Funding Futures: Scholarships as Agents of Social Change - Donor Resource Guide

September 8, 2016

At the Ford Foundation, we know that young people are a formidable force for positive social change in the world. Yet we have also seen how unequal access to economic and social resources limits many talented young people, and keeps them from reaching their full potential.This resource guide is intended to illustrate how scholarship programs can make higher education more open and inclusive to all—and how they can fuel social change. The impact of well-designed scholarships can extend far beyond individual scholars. These scholarships help recognize and cultivate untapped talent, and address the inequality that too often thrives both in higher education institutions and in communities around the world.This donor resource guide will be helpful to anyone who wants to start or improve a scholarship or fellowship program and we hope the guide—with its resources and examples from past programs like the foundation's International Fellowships Program—inspires donors and institutions alike to take risks and initiate transformational programs.

A Program Review of the Promoting Electoral Reform and Democratic Participation (PERDP) Initiative of the Ford Foundation

April 1, 2016

As part of its strategic redesign process in 2015, the Ford Foundation sought a systematic review of its Promoting Electoral Reform and Democratic Participation (PERDP) initiative in the United States. The overarching goal of the review was to understand the extent to which a clear theory of change existed in PERDP's work, and whether that theory of change matched broader understandings of what worked in strengthening civic engagement and democracy. Our goal was not to assess particular grants or funding choices. Instead we sought to synthesize learning about strategies for increasing civic participation and improving the functioning of American democracy by looking broadly at both scholarly research and the experiences of PERDP.