DARREN WALKER, FORD FOUNDATION & THE FIGHT AGAINST INEQUALITY
- In the United States, Charitable foundations are required by federal law to dole out at least 5% of their assets each year in grants and other charitable activities.
- “But we do have to ask, ‘Is the playing field level?’” Walker in a December 2019 publication been quoted as stating that: ‘’We should treat inequality as injustice, says Ford Foundation President Darren.
- “From Generosity to Justice: A New Gospel of Wealth.” We are on a journey to shift the very foundations of philanthropy—to inspire transformative approaches to giving that can truly disrupt the staggering inequality taking over our planet. Fortunately, we are not alone. — Darren Walker
- A FORD FOUNDATION publication quotes Walker as stating that ‘’We should treat inequality as injustice, says Ford Foundation President Darren Walker Darren Walker heads one of the wealthiest private foundations in the world. As president of the Ford Foundation, Walker is in charge of its $13-billion endowment, allocating $600 million in grants every year.
Darren Walker, President Ford Foundation presides over the affairs of one of the leading donor agencies globally with proclivity for eradication of inequality and good governance. The Ford Foundation — whose $13.7 billion endowment makes it one of the largest private foundations in the country — isn’t entirely unsympathetic. And Darren Walkers approach to philanthropy stands FORD FOUNDATION out as one of the foremost Donor/Humanitarian agencies in the world today.
A FORD FOUNDATION publication quotes Walker as stating that ‘’We should treat inequality as injustice, says Ford Foundation President Darren Walker Darren Walker heads one of the wealthiest private foundations in the world. As president of the Ford Foundation, Walker is in charge of its $13-billion endowment, allocating $600 million in grants every year.
One year ago, the world changed. To paraphrase Ernest Hemingway, it happened slowly, and then all at once. Weeks of uncertainty became a season of suffering, and then the deadliest year in the history of the United States, as well as Brazil, India and now Mexico. Around the world, COVID-19 has taken more than 2.7 million lives and counting. It has upended the hopes and dreams of untold millions more.
I have long resisted the simple binary—rejecting, as best I can, the false choices and zero-sum calculations; the unnuanced punditry on an increasingly complex world. And yet, as we mark the one-year anniversary of life with coronavirus, the beginning of a new era is in sight.
The last year constitutes a watershed. On one side, history’s tributaries run in one direction; on the other, toward something new. Years from now, we will refer to these periods as the B.C. and P.C. eras: before coronavirus, and post.
As we look ahead to when we will return to offices, schools and other places, we must not return to our old ways of working, learning, and connecting. Too much has been permanently disrupted, too many long-held beliefs disproved. If 2020 was, in many ways, unprecedented, what defines the P.C. era is still undetermined. We cannot permit ourselves to resume what was; we must reimagine what can be.
Darren Walker talks inequality But the fact that wealth on this scale exists in the first place doesn’t sit easy with him. “We shouldn’t demonize wealth or demonize success,” says Walker. “But we do have to ask, ‘Is the playing field level?’” Walker in a December 2019 publication been quoted as stating that: ‘’We should treat inequality as injustice, says Ford Foundation President Darren.
REDUCING INEQUALITY Modern philanthropy, he says, could do a better job at leveling that playing field. How to get there is the subject of Walker’s new book, “From Generosity to Justice: A New Gospel of Wealth.” We are on a journey to shift the very foundations of philanthropy—to inspire transformative approaches to giving that can truly disrupt the staggering inequality taking over our planet. Fortunately, we are not alone.
Rose Conlon and David Brancaccio record Darren Walker as submitting that: ‘’ I would say that Andrew Carnegie was a genius. He was a capitalist of remarkable vision and success. And he was, for his time, a radical. What I mean by that is we have to get at the structures and systems which produce so much advantage for some of us and so much disadvantage for others. Whether it’s the system of mass incarceration, our education system, our housing system, our economic systems — they have been designed to produce the outcomes that we’re getting.
Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) was one of the most successful businessmen and most recognized philanthropists in history. His entrepreneurial ventures in America’s steel industry earned him millions and he, in turn, made great contributions to social causes such as public libraries, education and international peace. He is responsible for the construction and donation of approximately 2,509 public libraries in the United States, Europe and around the world. https://www.learningtogive.org/resources/carnegie-andrew
So we shouldn’t be surprised that we are the most heavily incarcerated nation in the world per capita. We’ve designed a criminal justice system to deliver that. It shouldn’t be a surprise to us that we’re getting a sort of distorted capitalism that does not produce shared prosperity. But Andrew Carnegie was also comfortable with the inequality that existed during the Gilded Age. And what I posit is that today, the Andrew Carnegies of the world should not be comfortable with the level of inequality we’re seeing in our Gilded Age.
I do believe that philanthropy can play a role in catalyzing ideas and supporting institutions. Some of those ideas and institutions aren’t always popular. In the 1960s, the Ford Foundation in the American South supported organizations fighting in the courts for the rights of African Americans to go to white schools and have access to public establishments. Had people been given the ballot box, they would have voted integration down.
It’s not that we seek to be undemocratic. It’s that some of the ideas we support are helping us realize the potential of our democracy by making us more inclusive and more participatory.
About the Book Philanthropy as a tool for achieving economic, social, and political justice. In From Generosity to Justice: A New Gospel of Wealth, Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation articulates a bold vision for philanthropy in the 21st century joined by an array of thinkers, activists, and leaders from every field, sector, and walk of life.
Drawing inspiration from Andrew Carnegie’s original “The Gospel of Wealth,” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s incisive insights on philanthropy, and writer and critic Anand Giridharadas’s probing distinction between generosity and justice, this New Gospel convenes some of the most important voices in philanthropy to ask and offer answers to a vital question: If there’s a continuum between generosity and justice, how do we push our work closer to the latter?
Now is the time for a new Gospel of Wealth. With contributions from Laurene Powell Jobs, Ai-jen Poo, Kenneth Frazier, Carly Hare, Elizabeth Alexander, and more, Walker challenges and emboldens readers to consider philanthropy as a tool for achieving economic, social, and political justice.
That task requires humility, moral courage, and an unwavering commitment to democratic values and institutions. It demands that all members of society recognize their privilege and position, address the root causes of social ills, and seek out and listen to those who live amid and experience injustice.
What began in Carnegie’s day as a manual for generosity is now reimagined as a guide to move us closer to justice—a guide to help each of us find a way to contribute. Justice is calling. It’s time we answer. “Inequality makes people believe that the systems that are supposed to serve them are rigged — are designed by we privileged Americans to benefit us, at their expense,” Darren Walker said. Courtesy of the Ford Foundation.
Charitable foundations are required by federal law to dole out at least 5% of their assets each year in grants and other charitable activities. Most don’t stray far from that amount in the interest of preserving their endowment year after year. That has garnered criticism during the COVID-19 pandemic as nonprofits across the country have been plunged into crisis at the same time that tax-exempt private foundations, which sit on a collective $1 trillion in wealth, scale back their giving.
Reimagining the Economy Says Darren Walker: ‘’Research suggests we’re misperceiving the inequality around us. How weak overtime protections contribute to inequality Rethinking the U.S.-China relationship under the Biden administration “Our nonprofits are experiencing financial duress. They’re experiencing canceled fundraisers, canceled corporate sponsorships, while, at the very time, need is up. So our nonprofit sector needs more capital now. We must pay out more than our traditional 5%,” Walker told “Marketplace Morning Report” host David Brancaccio.
This is why Walker is at the helm of a collaboration between five major philanthropies to significantly increase the amount of money they give out in the immediate future. The Ford Foundation, along with fellow heavyweights the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, have together pledged to distribute an additional $1.7 billion in grants over the next few years.
Importance Andrew Carnegie’s philanthropic endeavors are extensive in their value. “There is no doubt that Carnegie was a hard businessman”” his success is testament to this”” but the acquisition of wealth was not due to personal greed” (SLOCOE 2002). He strongly believed that the wealthy had a moral obligation to serve as stewards to society. The two causes Carnegie had a great passion for were education and international peace.
Foremost, he believed that everyone was entitled to a proper education. For this reason, Carnegie was involved with the founding This paper was developed by a student taking a Philanthropic Studies course taught at Grand Valley State University. It is offered by Learning To Give and Grand Valley State University. of many schools and universities. Another way he contributed to public education was through his interest in free public libraries. His love of reading stemmed from a positive childhood experience of reading from the personal collection of a merchant in his town. Carnegie wanted to make those same reading experiences available to the public at no charge. He is responsible for the establishment of approximately 2,500 libraries worldwide. One of the first of the Carnegie libraries was the Carnegie Free Library in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, which became the model for the thousands of libraries to follow (Ibid.).
The second of Carnegie’s philanthropic focuses was the idea of peace among all nations. He established many trusts that focused on researching the causes of war. One of his greatest contributions to this cause was the establishment of the Peace Palace in The Hague, which houses an extensive library of international law resources Grand Valley State University
Ties to the Philanthropic Sector Carnegie said, in The Gospel of Wealth, “The man who dies thus rich dies disgraced” (Ibid.). He often stressed the importance of people distributing their own wealth, but on a scale of philanthropy as large as Carnegie’s, that task quickly became impossible. Therefore, the creation of the modern foundation was established. Carnegie used a number of trustees to distribute his wealth throughout Britain and America, with the Carnegie Corporation among them. The trusts can be associated with numerous donations including libraries, theaters, music halls, park lands, and schools Grand Valley State University
PIX CREDIT: ay Rudderman Foundation