Founded in 1936, the Ford Foundation has consistently sought to advance human welfare through philanthropic programs that reduce poverty and injustice, support democratic values, and advance international cooperation and human achievement. In 2016, the foundation announced that every grant it awards will be directed toward fighting social inequalities worldwide.
The core tenets of the foundation’s mission have been bolstered by its leaders’ sustained dedication to the arts. Since Darren Walker joined the Ford Foundation in 2010 and became its president in 2013, he has worked to advance the values of the foundation, including the importance of arts institutions within communities. In 2015 the philanthropy launched a yearlong effort centered on the ways art and culture illuminate and address critical issues of equity, opportunity, and justice. The foundation actively supports increasing diversity and inclusion in staffing and programming at museums. As Walker has stated, “museums are public institutions and need to reflect the public.” The Ford Foundation’s support of this ideal has encouraged museums to become more open for all to feel welcome and participate in an enriching, cultural experience that promotes creativity, knowledge, and equality.