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.

In addressing this reality, we are guided by a vision of social justice—a world in which all individuals, communities, and peoples work toward the protection and full expression of their human rights; are active participants in the decisions that affect them; share equitably in the knowledge, wealth, and resources of society; and are free to achieve their full potential.

Across eight decades, our mission has been to reduce poverty and injustice, strengthen democratic values, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement.

Our approaches

We believe that social movements are built upon individual leadership, strong institutions, and innovative, often high-risk ideas. While the specifics of what we work on have evolved over the years, investments in these three areas have remained the touchstones of everything we do and are central to our theory of how change happens in the world. These approaches have long distinguished the Ford Foundation, and they have had a profound cumulative impact.

Investing in individuals

Through leadership development, scholarships, exchanges, and professional training programs, we have supported tens of thousands of leaders around the world.

Building institutions

We have created or helped sustain thousands of pathbreaking organizations working on a broad range of social change issues.

Supporting new ideas

Ford has invested in the early stages of novel ideas for social good—among them public media, microfinance, women’s rights, public interest law, digital human rights, and many more.

Our values and culture

We work with a sense of urgency but recognize that meaningful change requires sustained investment over time in those living and working closest to the problems. For this reason, we focus on strengthening civil society at every level through supporting participation by people of diverse backgrounds and life experiences. We also closely collaborate with governments, the private sector, academia, and the creative community.

Our culture is driven by trust, constructive debate, and leadership that empowers innovation and excellence. We strive to listen and learn and to model openness and transparency. We are accountable to each other at the foundation, to our charter, to our sector, to the organizations we support, and to society at large—as well as to the laws that govern our nonprofit status.