The Ford Foundation has announced the launch of a ten-year, $50 million initiative aimed at identifying and developing the next generation of social justice leaders working to advance solutions to inequality.
The inaugural cohort of twenty-four Ford Global Fellows includes social change leaders from Brazil, the United States, East Africa, and the Middle East and North Africa with a range of approaches to the challenge of ending inequality, from restoring voting rights for formerly incarcerated people, to advancing LGBTQ+ rights, to boosting the political and economic power of people with disabilities. Many of the fellows are members of communities directly impacted by inequality and will be drawing on their lived experience.
This week, participants in the initiative will kick off the program, which was developed in partnership with the Institute of International Education, by attending a multi-day virtual training convening. In addition to a $25,000 stipend, each fellow will benefit from an individualized learning program and be expected to participate in additional convenings, either virtually or in person, over the next eighteen months.
"The Ford Global Fellowship builds on the Ford Foundation's long-standing commitment to investing in the ideas, individuals, and institutions that drive meaningful, systemic change," said Hilary Pennington, the foundation's executive vice president of programs. "We are proud to introduce our inaugural cohort of Ford Global Fellows, which includes some of the world's most innovative and promising social change leaders committed to tackling inequality — the defining challenge of our time, now more than ever. We cannot go back to the old normal that existed before the pandemic, and this program is an investment in reimagining solutions to global challenges that respect no borders. By connecting fellows to each other and to the broader Ford network, we hope to create a catalytic effect that accelerates the impact of their individual and collective work, to address challenges during the pandemic and beyond."
For a complete list of the inaugural class of Ford Global Fellows, see the Ford Foundation website.