Ford Foundation commits $180 million to U.S. racial justice efforts

Ford Foundation commits $180 million to U.S. racial justice efforts

The Ford Foundation has announced a new $180 million commitment to advance racial justice efforts in the United States.

The commitment more than doubles, to $330 million, the foundation's planned support for racial justice efforts in the U.S. for 2020 and 2021. The new funding will be directed to groups working to drive structural and systemic change through strategic litigation, policy advocacy, and grassroots organizing, with $125 million of the total dedicated to a new generation of Black-led groups and organizers. Recipients of grants include the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

The additional funding comes from the proceeds of a $1 billion social bond offering announced by the foundation in June — part of a joint effort by five major foundations to boost their grantmaking for the nonprofit sector as it struggles with the economic and social impacts of COVID-19 and the persistent effects of systemic racism by $1.725 billion over two years. According to an analysis by Candid, only 5 percent of racial equity funding awarded by U.S. foundations is specifically focused on movement building and grassroots organizing.

"Our most urgent priority for this infusion of funds is to meet activists and litigators where they are and ensure groups on the ground at this historic moment of racial reckoning have the resilience and resources they need to help build a truly equitable future for all," said Ford Foundation president Darren Walker. "We hope this additional funding will not only sustain advocacy groups through the challenging days and months ahead, but also create space for transformative ideas and approaches to advance racial justice. We encourage other funders and donors to support this powerful, dynamic constellation of racial justice leaders and groups leading the charge of building a more just nation."

"Today's evolving and growing racial justice movement is more intergenerational and intersectional than ever before — reflecting the confluence of race, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and economic status on people's lives," said Maria Torres-Springer, the foundation's vice president of U.S. programs. We are inspired by the diverse organizations working to reimagine what's possible and realize justice for all."

(Photo credit: Ford Foundation)

"Ford Foundation announces $180 million in new funding for U.S. racial justice efforts." Ford Foundation press release 10/09/2020. "FAQs: Social bond racial justice grants." Ford Foundation FAQ 10/09/2020.