From the Editors

On OpenDemocracy: An Analysis of the Ford Foundation’s New Mission

Earlier today, openDemocracy published an insightful piece by Erica Kohl-Arenas examining the Ford Foundation’s new mission to eradicate inequality. In “Can philanthropy ever reduce inequality,” the author questions whether the Foundation will stray from the history of U.S. philanthropy and attack “inequality at its roots” instead of simply promoting “the tradition of individualized ‘racial uplift’ or ‘self-help’ that calls for assimilation, upward mobility, and ‘social responsibility.'”

Kohl-Arenas’s central question is an important one and we plan to engage with her arguments on this blog. Later this month, in fact, we’ll be hosting a dialogue on the general theme of philanthropy and inequality. Confirmed contributors include Karen Ferguson (whom Kohl-Arenas mentions in her piece), Leah Gordon, Daniel Geary, Megan Ming Francis, and myself; though please email us if you’d like to join the conversation as well. And please do take this invitation seriously. At the moment, income and racial inequalities are urgent topics in the U.S., so a conversation on the role of philanthropy in addressing these inequities is appropriate and important. More broadly, though, the sector’s scholars and practitioners could benefit from an honest dialogue on the raisons d’etre of the sector and whether it has achieved (or ever could achieve) these purposes.

-Maribel Morey, co-founder of HistPhil.

2 thoughts on “On OpenDemocracy: An Analysis of the Ford Foundation’s New Mission

  1. I would be honored to join this conversation. I am an executive with one of the country’s largest nonprofit end-of-life care organizations and we have core strategic focus on serving our state’s most vulnerable populations related to end-of-life. We consider this a social justice/equality issue because of our values and commitment to high quality of life care for all. Too many Americans are dying and suffering through grief because of inadequate education, awareness and access to quality end-of-life care. My organization not only strives to set the standard for end-of-life care but also serve as role model for other nonprofits–that are also in a position of prominence in their communities/states/regions/nation–to help eradicate inequality.

    I look forward to participating, learning and hopefully contributing to the conversation.


  2. Pingback: What does philanthropy look like? | HistPhil

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