We are compelled to push forth this compilation because we believe it could provoke empathy especially in Africa where the gap of the rich and poor is widening. Even if it influences one human soul, we reason that this is still commendable, especially given the fact that it takes some time for attitudinal changes to be effected. This is why we publish in this piece the contributions of two notable global citizens – Darren Walker and Gbenga Oyebode who both sit on the 16-man Board of Trustees of FORD FOUNDATION. Gbenga Oyebode, a Nigerian legal practitioner on the Board of Trustees of FORD FOUNDATION! Amazing. This could also impact the growing generation to ultimately embrace philanthropy stop thinking about living in affluence without leaving their marks on the sands of time. We have resolved to engage more of this type of activity with global appeal and that could do the human race huge good and make people in the developing world look beyond their horizon.
It is coincidental that FORD FOUNDATION is being published to lead this series. At inception, our mandate was drawn to bring out the best in the society is order to bring about the best for the common good. We reasoned that we must discourage throwing of insults and venomous pronouncements by the political and elite classes and have structured our operations along the line of responsibility for moderating flow of communication as gatekeepers.
We are also passionate about the development of Nigeria. This is why we have written extensively and published matters pertaining to Alternative Medicine, Trade & Investment, particularly Made in Nigeria Goods & Services, Family values, good governance peace and peaceful conducts, economic development We have also published opinions that we consider appropriate and in the public interest.
We are conscious of our ethical responsibility of granting Right of Reply. But we were originally not disposed to publishing stories particularly those that are churned out with venom and hatred. We settle for contributions that could move Nigeria forward. So far, we have also striven to raise the consciousness of the citizenry on good governance and accountability. We are concerned about national peace and cohesion.
One of the goals of TERRIFIC HEADLINES is to contribute to national soul-searching, given the expectations of the populace from government, create platforms for exchange of ideas and opinions, and also promote those issues that are considered ideal for the development processes. 1.2 billion people continue to live on under US$1.25 dollars a day. It has been established that inequalities in income and wealth are often compounded by inequalities in access to power, and disparities in health and education. Wherever poverty is to be combated effectively, there must be cooperation between the Government and institutions, particularly private sector operators.
There must be redistribution of income by way of philanthropy, particularly by the private sector. For instance, the Tata group, the largest Indian conglomerate which accounts for 3.2% of India’s GDP, devotes two-thirds of its profits every year to philanthropy. We have resolved to go back to our first love of running opinions and engaging in critical information dissemination services seen to be constructed on how to promote the national interest and public good. We welcome publishable articles at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com,
EQUALITY As the saying goes: Fingers are not equal All over the world, there is a grossly unequal gap between the rich and the poor. Inequality poses a great danger to mankind. According to a UNDP Report titled: ‘Humanity Divided,’ (2014) the richest one per cent of the world population now owns about 40 per cent of the world’s assets, while the bottom half owns not more than one percent! The report states clearly that Confronting inequality in developing countries shows that if left unchecked, inequality can undermine the very foundations of development and social and domestic peace. Just as there are poor people here, there are also poor and homeless people on the streets of the First World. The only difference is obviously the intensity of poverty and how this problem staring humanity in the face is addressed by different societies.
GAINS OF INCLUSIVENESS: World leaders are not unaware of challenges posed by pervasive extreme poverty. United Nations celebrated its seventieth anniversary with the approval of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals with 169 associated targets, that are integrated. Heads of Government noted, among other Resolutions, that they were Meeting at a time of immense challenges to sustainable development. Billions of our citizens continue to live in poverty and are denied a life of dignity. There are rising inequalities within and among countries. There are enormous disparities of opportunity, wealth and power. Gender inequality remains a key challenge.
Unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, is a major concern. Global health threats, more frequent and intense natural disasters, spiraling conflict, violent extremism, terrorism and related humanitarian crises and forced displacement of people threaten to reverse much of the development progress made in recent decades. We believe in the inherent dignity of all people. But around the world, too many people are excluded from the political, economic, and social institutions that shape their lives. Across eight decades, our mission has sought to reduce poverty and injustice, strengthen democratic values, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. (Ford Foundation)
THE FORD FOUNDATION observes, in a publication that ‘’over the past 80 years we have invested in innovative ideas, visionary individuals, and frontline institutions advancing human dignity around the world. Our social justice mission and vision have guided us through transformations in the foundation, the communities we serve, and the world at large. The foundation is governed by a distinguished and diverse 16-member Board of Trustees, which includes our president. ‘’Our grant making is led by directors and regional representatives with expertise in their fields and a profound commitment to social change’’.
In order to promote feelings of empathy that could make people do some charity, we bring you into the lives of two of the drivers of the policies of FORD FOUNDATION – Darren Walker, and of course, our own dear Nigeria’s Gbenga Oyebode who by virtue of their commitments promote the interests of humanity. We shall touch other organizations and individuals with the intention of getting others to know that there is joy in helping people and worthy causes as well as help Nigerians and the African Diaspora realize how wealth could be utilized to assist the poor.
DARREN WALKER – PRESIDENT, FORD FOUNDATION BOARD OF TRUSTEES
The Ford Foundation is managed by a 16-member Board of Trustees with Darren Walker as president of the Ford Foundation, a $14 billion international social justice philanthropy. He is a member of Governor Cuomo’s Reimagining New York Commission and co-chair of NYC Census 2020. He chaired the philanthropy committee that brought a resolution to the city of Detroit’s historic bankruptcy. Under his leadership, the Ford Foundation became the first non-profit in US history to issue a $1 billion designated social bond in US capital markets for proceeds to strengthen and stabilize non-profit organizations in the wake of COVID-19. bBefore joining Ford, Darren was vice president at Rockefeller Foundation, overseeing global and domestic programs. In the 1990s, he was COO of the Abyssinian Development Corporation, Harlem’s largest community development organization.
Darren co-chairs New York City’s Mayoral Advisory Commission on City Art, Monuments, and Markers, and has served on the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform and the UN International Labour Organization Global Commission on the Future of Work. He co-founded both the US Impact Investing Alliance and the Presidents’ Council on Disability Inclusion in Philanthropy. He serves on many boards, including Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, the National Gallery of Art, Carnegie Hall, the High Line, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture. In the summer of 2020, he was appointed to the boards of Square and Ralph Lauren. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and is the recipient of 16 honorary degrees and university awards, including Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Medal.
Educated exclusively in public schools, Darren was a member of the first Head Start class in 1965 and received BA, BS, and JD degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. He has been included on numerous leadership lists: Time’s annual 100 Most Influential People, Rolling Stone’s 25 People Shaping the Future, Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business, Ebony’s Power 100, and Out magazine’s Power 50. Most recently, Darren was named Wall Street Journal’s 2020 Philanthropy Innovator.
Gbenga Oyebode — Trustee Gbenga Oyebode serves on the Ford Foundation Board of Trustees. He is a co-founder and former chairman of the Nigerian law firm Aluko & Oyebode, where he is currently of counsel, advising corporations on matters relating to energy and natural resources, telecommunications, project finance, and aviation.
Oyebode is passionate about education and the arts. He serves on the Global Advisory Council of the African Leadership Academy and is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, a director of Teach for All, and the chairman of Teach for Nigeria. He is also chairman of the board of PZ Cussons Nigeria Plc and sits on the boards of EnterpriseNGR Professional Advocacy Group, Assets Management Group Limited, Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Rele Arts Foundation, Rele Gallery, and the Africa Philanthropy Forum, and he is a member of the Cleveland Museum of Arts International Collectors Council.
Oyebode holds one of Nigeria’s highest honors, as a member of the Order of the Federal Republic. He is a recipient of the Belgian royal honor of Knight of the Order of Leopold. He holds bachelor of laws degrees from the University of Ife and the Nigerian Law School, a master of laws degree from the University of Pennsylvania, and he is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association and the International Bar Association. He is also a graduate of the advanced management program at Harvard Business School.
Ford Foundation trustees set policies relating to grant making, geographic focus, spending, investment, management, governance, and professional standards, and review the performance of the president. The Audit Committee of the board oversees independent audits and sets the compensation of all officers. Our Board of Trustees is currently composed of 14 members, including the president. Nominated by the Nominating and Governance Committee and appointed by the full board, trustees may serve up to two six-year terms. The board, board committees, and individual trustees are evaluated on a regular basis by the Nominating and Governance Committee.
Foundation trustees bring a vast range of knowledge and experience to the task of governing the foundation. Over the years, trustees have hailed from five continents, and they have extensive experience in the worlds of higher education, business, law, government, technology, health care, nonprofit management, the arts, and the civic sector. The trustees select the president, who implements board policies and oversees foundation programs and operations on a day-to-day basis. The trustees and the president, along with other senior staff, share the responsibility of representing the foundation in the public sphere. The president continually reexamines our work, looking for opportunities to hone our strategies and improve our effectiveness. The president meets with people around the world to help deepen the foundation’s grasp of different perspectives on how to solve problems. In addition to overseeing operations, the president works to communicate what we have learned to a broad array of audiences and strives to strengthen the philanthropic sector’s performance, legal compliance, and transparency. (Ford Foundation publication)