www.DiscoverTheNetwork.orgDate: 4/17/2014 4:46:24 PM

FORD FOUNDATION

320 East 43rd Street
New York, NY
10017

Phone :(212) 573-5000
Email :office-communications@fordfound.org
URL :http://www.fordfound.org/



  • Assets: $11,093,350,840 (2011)
  • Grants Received: $0 (2011)
  • Grants Awarded: $485,403,637 (2011)

 

The Ford Foundation was chartered on January 15, 1936 by Edsel Ford, the only son of industrialist and auto magnate Henry Ford, “to receive and administer funds for scientific, educational and charitable purposes, all for the public welfare.” The sole purpose of the foundation was to dodge the IRS’s steep inheritance tax on the Ford Motor Company’s stock. With that aim, 95 percent of company stock was placed under the charge of the foundation. Although Edsel Ford initially envisioned small-scale philanthropic goals, the massive endowment of company equity made the Ford Foundation the largest and most influential charitable organization in the United States.

After the deaths of Edsel Ford in 1943 and his father Henry Ford four years later, Henry Ford II (Edsel’s son and Henry’s grandson) assumed leadership of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. He promptly appointed the Gaither Study Committee, headed by California attorney H. Rowan Gaither, to draft a long-term plan for the institution’s future. In its final report, the Committee recommended that the Ford Foundation should focus its philanthropy on groups and causes that: “promise significant contributions to world peace and ... a world order of law and justice”; “secure greater allegiance to the basic principles of freedom and democracy in the solution of the insistent problems of an ever-changing society”; “advance the economic well being of people everywhere and improve economic institutions for the better realization of democratic goals”; “strengthen, expand and improve educational facilities and methods to enable individuals more fully to realize their ... potentialities”; “promote greater equality of educational opportunity”; and “through scientific work, increase knowledge of factors which influence or determine human conduct, and extend such knowledge for the maximum benefit of individuals and society.”

Gradually, the foundation became unmoored from the conservative views of the Ford family -- just as its influence took off. In 1951, Ford began to receive millions of dollars in dividends from the massive endowment of stock left it by Henry and Edsel Ford, almost overnight transforming the foundation into the country’s largest and most influential philanthropy. To oversee its newly lavish budget and move beyond its regional role, the foundation turned to Paul Hoffman, a corporate executive and a liberal Republican.[1]

Hoffman was appointed the foundation’s president in 1951 and immediately launched its political realignment with a symbolic change of location, moving the foundation from the Ford Company’s base in Dearborn, Michigan, to a location near his home in Pasadena, California, as well as to New York City.

These geographic changes heralded a shift in the nature and political direction of the foundation’s charitable giving which would become complete in 1966, when McGeorge Bundy became the Ford Foundation’s president and engineered its political transformation into a radical force in American life. A liberal Republican and onetime Cold Warrior who had served as a national security advisor to Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, Bundy hailed from the coterie of foreign policy advisors and intellectuals – ironically dubbed “the best and the brightest” by journalist David Halberstam – who had initially advocated American intervention in Vietnam but who came to regret their support for the war and migrated to the left politically.[2]

Bundy brought that political outlook with him to the helm of the Ford Foundation. Under his direction, Ford became a leading sponsor of left-wing causes -- expanding welfare, nuclear disarmament, environmental advocacy, and the creation of “civil rights” interest groups that emphasized ethnic identity and ethnic power – “multiculturalism” -- over integration and assimilation into the American culture. Ford gave as much as $300 million a year throughout the 1960s to support such causes.[3]

Ford’s sponsorship of these radical causes frequently proved destructive to those it was intended to help. In 1967, on the advice of academic radicals in New York, Bundy aligned Ford with members of the Brooklyn black power movement to establish a community-run set of schools in the predominantly black Ocean Hill-Brownsville section of Brooklyn. Between 1967 and 1968, Ford gave over $900,000 to fund schools as part of these so-called “community control experiments” in New York City.[4]

In theory, the Ford-funded project was supposed to empower minority communities and to improve inner-city education by giving minority parents full control over their school districts. In practice, it was a disaster. The mostly black school board precipitated a bitter and drawn out fight with the city’s teacher’s union when it fired the largely white teachers as part of the project and the union came to their defense. At the same time, many of the teachers appointed as part of the program were not remotely qualified for the job. Often the Ford-back schools were staffed with anti-white militants and anti-Semites who fueled racial tensions in New York.[5] A poem by one of the teachers appointed through the Ocean Hill-Brownsville program allegedly read: “Hey Jewboy, with the yarmulke on your head/You paleface Jewboy, I wish you were dead.”[6] (Many of the white teachers in the school district and the New York teachers’ union were Jewish.) Still others teachers were white graduate students with no teaching experience who were drawn to the project for political reasons. As a result, education at participating schools deteriorated. When the project ended after three years, minority students at Ocean Hill-Brownsville schools actually performed worse on reading tests than before the project began.

Ford again bankrolled the Black Power movement when it steered grants to the Cleveland chapter of the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE) to support its voter registration drive among blacks. Ford funds paid for black youths to attend classes at CORE’s headquarters. Ostensibly about black history and heritage, these classes actually stoked racial division by teaching what one black councilman described as “race hatred.”[7] Most notoriously, in 1967, Ford grants to CORE helped tip the balance in Cleveland’s mayoral race to elect Democrat Carl Stokes, a politician linked with the radical black power movement, as the city’s first black mayor. In what many observers saw as a clearly partisan effort, Ford gave CORE a grant of $175,000, of which $30,000 went toward voter registration efforts exclusively aimed at black voters. Buoyed by the registration drive, Stokes was able to prevail in a tightly contested race.[8] These registration drives were the seeds that led to the creation of organizations involved in similar efforts nationally such as the radical group ACORN, which came under scrutiny for massive election fraud in behalf of Democrats in more than a dozen states.

Ford’s “march to the Left” would ultimately provoke a bitter falling out between the foundation’s staff and trustees and Edsel Ford’s son Henry Ford II, the last member of the Ford family to serve on the foundation’s board. In 1976 a disillusioned Ford terminated his 34-tenure with a protest against the leftward course his family’s foundation had pursued. In a stinging letter of resignation, Ford excoriated the trustees for using Ford funds to support leftwing causes while abandoning the commitment to free enterprise that had made possible the profits from which the foundation was created and the funds that it dispensed in its grants. “The foundation exists and thrives on the fruits of our economic system,” he said. “The dividends of competitive enterprise make it all possible. A significant portion of the abundance created by U.S. business enables the foundation and like institutions to carry on their work. In effect, the foundation is a creature of capitalism – a statement that, I’m sure, would be shocking to many people in the field of philanthropy. It is hard to discern recognition of this fact in anything the foundation does. It is even more difficult to find an understanding of this in many of the institutions, particularly the universities, that are the recipients of the foundation’s grant programs.”[9] Ford also observed “that the system that makes the foundation possible very probably is worth preserving.”[10]

Not only did the foundation executives not heed Ford’s warning its social investments were undermining the very system that underwrote its philanthropy, but they moved aggressively to create a network of progressive groups who would use their non-profit tax status to promote radical agendas.

Under McGeorge Bundy’s leadership, the Ford Foundation made it a priority to support what it considered “civil rights” causes but were in fact politically leftwing agendas within the civil rights movement. Because they were often politically partisan within the narrow definition laid down by the I.R.S. guidelines governing its tax exemption, pursuing these agendas required a combination of audacity and finesse on the part of the foundation’s more politically-minded staff members. In particular, they had to convince moderate members of the board that the foundation should be using its funds to bankroll groups and agendas the I.R.S. might regard as inappropriate beneficiaries for a charitable organization.

That task fell to Sanford Jaffe, the director of Ford’s Government and Law Program from 1968 to 1983. Prior to his appointment, Jaffe had served as the executive director of the “Select Commission on Civil Disorder,” established in 1968 by New Jersey’s governor, Democrat Richard Hughes. The Commission published a study examining the underlying causes of the violent and destructive riots that had erupted in the predominantly black inner-city of Newark in the summer of 1967. It made policy recommendations for dealing with the problems facing inner city communities. Like the President’s Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders initiated by President Lyndon Johnson, the New Jersey commission concluded that white racism and systemic inequities were the primary causes of the Newark riots. As Jaffe later put it, the riots were sparked by “the inattention to the needs and aspirations of the black community, and the absence of opportunities available across the board.”

The commission’s report, blaming the riots on poverty and racism reflected a rapidly forming consensus on the left. Its prescriptions were of a similar cast, proposing vast increases in government welfare programs as a “solution” to the “root causes” of the violence, in particular lack of income. That both the riots and the poverty might have been the result of disintegrating family and community structures in the inner city, as warned by the Moynihan Report, a groundbreaking 1965 study of the African American family, was not part of the new political calculus. The commission also recommended a government takeover of inner-city schools to improve the woeful state of education for Newark's black youth. In response to the commission’s findings, Governor Hughes proposed that New Jersey absorb 100 percent of the welfare costs from state counties and municipalities while at the same time pumping massive infusions of aid to cities like Newark.[11] Republicans in the state legislature would eventually cut the figure down to a still-substantial 50 percent in the final version of the aid package, but the governor’s decision to implement the commission’s findings began a cycle of fiscal recklessness that put New Jersey in desperate economic straits.

The challenge faced by Jaffe and the other progressives at Ford was to promote agendas favored by liberals and Democrats while camouflaging its political nature so as to conform to the legal requirements of a tax-exempt organization. Aware that this was uncharted territory and legally problematic, Jaffe wondered how he might insulate the foundation from “criticism both from some people on the Ford board and a lot of people from the outside?”[12] The strategy he devised was to form a Public Interest Law Advisory Committee. Comprising four ex-presidents of the American Bar Association, the committee would assess the foundation’s grants and lend the stamp of non-partisan prestige to an increasingly political grant making strategy. When the foundation’s grants then came under attack for their political nature, Jaffe could tell the foundation’s board, “Look, I got the advice of these four people.”[13]

The strategy was so successful it initially helped diffuse opposition even from critics on the board like Henry Ford II. In order to win Ford’s approval, Jaffe made William Gossett, Ford’s general counsel, one of the members of his advisory committee. As Jaffe would later recall, “That became a key element to say to Henry Ford if he had a problem, ‘Well, Bill Gossett, your lawyer, thinks that this is a worthwhile enterprise, he’s joining us in looking at it.”

Protected by layers of carefully orchestrated legitimacy, Jaffe’s approach cleared the way for Ford to fund the creation of left-wing public interest law firms when otherwise the foundation’s board might have been reluctant to endorse such nakedly partisan grants. As further insurance, Jaffe made sure that every firm would have a “litigation committee” comprising the kind of white-shoe lawyers that served on Ford’s board. That way, if the firms Ford backed endorsed partisan liberal causes, Jaffe could claim that it was all approved at the highest levels. “We’d say, ‘Now, wait a minute, they have a distinguished board and besides that they have a litigation committee and they cannot file a lawsuit unless the litigation’s committee’s approved it.’ Now look who’s on the litigation committee. Arthur Goldberg, you know, was a former Supreme Court justice, this person and that person are all senior partners at law firms.”[14] As one critic notes, “The program’s officers did all they could to give this potentially explosive program a smooth, establishment veneer.”[15]

Internal critics may have been appeased by Jaffe’s strategy – temporarily, in the case of Henry Ford II – but there also remained concerns that the Foundation’s support for organizations with a political agenda could invite unwanted attention from the federal government. The Foundation’s non-profit tax status – the original reason for its creation – could be jeopardized by funding groups allied with progressive movements and causes. According to the relevant provision of the IRS tax code, known as 501(c)(3), non-profits eligible for tax-deductibility must be dedicated to “the general welfare” and not partisan causes, and could not “attempt to influence legislation.” As Ford’s president, McGeorge Bundy, wondered, “What if somebody hassles us about the charitable nature of this?”[16] But the foundation found an important loophole in the tax code: Public interest law firms did not directly fall under the requirement prohibiting 501(c)(3) political advocacy and so their funding by Ford could not technically be construed as politically motivated. It was a discovery that would leave long-lasting effects on American politics and institutions.

Despite its authorization as a tax-exempt foundation set up to promote the general (non-partisan) welfare, the Ford Foundation would go on to create an army of progressive “public interest” law firms, designed to advance the agendas of the left. In time, these groups would become a shadow party for the political left, shaping policy and politics in America while disenfranchising the very groups they were created to represent.

Among the most influential of these tax-exempt advocacy groups were the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund (MALDEF), the National Council of La Raza, and the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund. Backed by Ford, these groups would fundamentally transform the public debate about immigration, both legal and illegal, and ultimately shape policy, reflecting agendas that originated on the political fringe and, in the absence of Ford funds, would probably have remained there.

One of the Ford Foundation’s most notable disbursements was its 1968 "seed grant" to create the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), an open borders group that is now the most influential Hispanic advocacy organization in the United States. Between 1970 and 2005, Ford gave more than $25 million to MALDEF; nearly half of that amount ($11,285,000) was donated between 2000 and 2004.

Since then, the Ford Foundation has continued to move leftward, as reflected in the objectives and worldviews of the organizations it currently supports. These objectives and worldviews include: the weakening of homeland security and anti-terrorism measures on the theory that they constitute unacceptable assaults on civil liberties; the dissolution of American borders; the promotion of mass, unchecked immigration to the United States; the redistribution of wealth; the blaming of America for virtually every conceivable international dispute; the depiction of Israel as an oppressor state that routinely victimizes its Palestinian minority; the weakening of American military capabilities; a devotion to the principle of preferences based on race, ethnicity, gender, and a host of other demographic attributes; the condemnation of the U.S. as a racist, sexist, homophobic nation that discriminates against minorities, women and gays; the characterization of America as an unrepentant polluter whose industrial pursuits cause immense harm to the natural environment; the portrayal of the U.S. as a violator of human rights both at home and abroad; the depiction of America as an aggressively militaristic nation; and support for taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand as an inalienable right for all women.

By using its enormous wealth (derived solely from investments in international securities) to promote these ideals, the Ford Foundation plays a major role in shaping American culture, popular opinion, and public policy.

The Ford Foundation today identifies the following as its three major Program Areas:

(a) The Asset Building and Community Development program “helps strengthen and increase the effectiveness of people and organizations working to find solutions to problems of poverty and injustice.” Grants in this area “support vibrant social movements, institutions and partnerships that analyze contemporary social and economic opportunities and devise responses to them.”

(b) The Peace and Social Justice program is founded on the premise that “[a]rmed conflict destroys not only human lives but also livelihoods, governments, civil institutions, trust— in short, everything in its wake”; and that “[s]ocial justice is the aspiration of all healthy societies and the only long-term guarantee for sustaining peace.”

(c) The Knowledge, Creativity and Freedom program works “globally to advance achievement in the arts, education and scholarship and to advance a positive understanding of sexuality. … It also affirms the importance of freedom to think and act critically, originally and responsibly in facilitating the building of more just and pluralistic societies.

The Ford Foundation is also a longtime supporter of the American Civil Liberties Union, as evidenced by its $7 million grant to the ACLU in 1999. "The ACLU has no better partner and friend than the Ford Foundation," said the ACLU's then-Executive Director Ira Glasser. "It is fitting that the largest single gift … ever to the ACLU, should come from Ford."

The Ford Foundation is a member organization of both the Peace and Security Funders Group (which supports anti-war and radical environmentalist groups) and the International Human Rights Funders Group (a network of more than six-dozen grantmakers dedicated to funding leftwing causes).

The Ford Foundation played a large part in funding the 2001 United Nations World Conference Against Racism (in Durban, South Africa), which degenerated into a circus of anti-Semitic and anti-American displays. Ford has given funding to a number of the NGOs that played key roles in the Durban Conference. Among these were: LAW (which received $1.1 million from Ford between 1997-2003); the Palestinian NGO Network, or PNGO (which, from 1999 to 2002, received several Ford grants, totaling $1.4 million, and an additional $270,000 supplemental grant); the Al Mezan Center (which, around the time of the Durban Conference, received $100,000 in Ford money for "community based advocacy work on economic, social and cultural rights in Gaza" -- i.e., the disruption of Israeli Defense Force activities); and the Health, Development, Information and Policy Institute (which, around the time of the Durban Conference, received two Ford grants totaling $135,000). Ford has also provided large amounts of funding for Rabbis for Human Rights, for "rabbinically based" educations efforts "supporting human rights policies by Israel in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip."

Ford has provided financial backing to the New Israel Fund (NIF) since 1988. In 2003 Ford awarded a $20 million grant to NIF; four years later, it gave another $20 million to the organization.

Through its Cairo office, Ford disbursed more than $35 million in grants to 272 Arab and Palestinian organizations during 2000-2001 period alone — plus 62 additional grants (totaling more than $1.4 million) to Arab and Palestinian individuals. From the 1950s through 2003, Ford's Beirut and Cairo offices awarded over $193 million to more than 350 Middle East organizations, almost all of which were Arab, Islamic or Palestinian. Edwin Black, in a four-part article series titled "Funding Hate: Ford Foundation finances anti-Israel Activists," written for the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, states: "The overwhelming majority of Ford's monies for the Middle East are granted to pro-Palestinian and Islamic rights groups."

A further sampling of Ford Foundation donees includes: Alliance for Justice; the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights; the American Bar Association Fund for Justice and Education; the American Friends Service Committee; the Arms Control Association; the Aspen Institute; the Brookings Institution; the Carter Center; Catholics for a Free Choice; the Center for the Advancement of Women; the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities; the Center for Community Change; the Center for Constitutional Rights; the Center for Economic and Policy Research; the Center for Economic and Social Rights; the Center for Reproductive Rights; the Center for Women's Policy Studies; the Council on Foundations; the Democracy Matters Institute; Democracy Now Productions; the Earth Action Network; Earth Day Network; the Earth Island Institute; EcoTrust; the Environmental Defense Fund; the Environmental Working Group; the Feminist Majority Foundation; Fenton Communications; Free Press; Friends of the Earth; the Health, Development, Information and Policy Institute; Human Rights First; Human Rights Watch; the Immigrant Workers Citizenship Project; the Institute for Public Accuracy; the Institute for Women’s Policy Research; the International Crisis Group; the International Federation of Human Rights; Ittijah; LAW; the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law; MIFTAH; the Migration Policy Institute; the Ms. Foundation for Women; the National Alliance for Choice in Giving; the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Legal Defense & Education Fund; the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy; the National Council of La Raza; the National Immigration Forum; the National Immigration Law Center; the National Lawyers Guild; the National Organization for Women; National Partnership for Women and Families; National Public Radio; the National Wildlife Federation; the National Women’s Law Center; the Neighborhood Funders Group; the New Israel Fund; the Nine to Five Working Women Education Fund; Oxfam America; Oxfam International; the Pacifica Foundation; the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organization Network; People for the American Way; Physicians for Human Rights; Physicians for Social Responsibility; Planned Parenthood; the Ploughshares Fund; Political Research Associates; the Proteus Fund; Public Citizen; the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund; the Rainforest Action Network; the Rainforest Alliance; the Rockefeller Family Fund; the Save The Children Fund; State Voices; the Tides Foundation and the Tides Center; Trust for Public Land; the Union of Concerned Scientists; the Union for Palestinian Medical Relief Committee; the United Nations; the United Nations Foundation; the 2001 United Nations World Conference Against Racism; the United States Student Association; the Urban Institute; the USAction Education Fund; the William J. Brennan Center for Justice; the Womens Action for New Directions Education Fund; the World Resources Institute; the World Social Forum; and the World Wildlife Fund/Conservation Foundation.

To view a list of additional noteworthy grantees of the Ford Foundation, click here.

The Ford Foundation also gives large sums to fund various projects, programs, and academic departments in universities across the United States. These include: Arizona State University (to study affirmative action and diversity in wake of Grutter v. Bollinger); Barnard College (black and ethnic studies); Brown University (women's studies); City University of New York (Hispanic, black, women's and queer studies); Colorado State University (environmental advocacy); and Columbia University (black studies); Cornell University (Africana studies and the Peace Studies Program); Duke University (Center for Study of Muslim Networks); Emory University (Islamic and black studies); Harvard University (for its black studies program); Johns Hopkins University (Institute for Policy Studies); Oberlin College (Islamic studies); Ohio State University (to study affirmative action and diversity in wake of Grutter v. Bollinger); Princeton University (diversity studies); San Francisco State University (National Sexuality Resource Center); Smith College (feminist studies); Swarthmore College (Islamic studies); Temple University (labor and poverty studies); the University of Massachusetts (Center for Inclusive Teaching); the University of Michigan (Environmental Justice Initiative); the University of Minnesota (Institute of Race and Poverty); the University of North Carolina (black studies); the University of Notre Dame (Hispanic studies); the University of Southern California (Center for Urban Education); the University of Texas (for the [Mexican] Border Philanthropy Project); the University of Virginia (black studies); and the University of Wisconsin (black and poverty studies).

To view a list of additional noteworthy college and university grantees of the Ford Foundation, click here.

Today, Ford’s nearly $11 billion in assets make it the second largest foundation in the country, after the $34 billion Gates Foundation, and it dwarfs its philanthropic counterparts on the right. Ford’s grant making is 15 times that of the three largest politically conservative foundations combined.[17]

A notable former president of the Ford Foundation was Susan Berresford.


NOTES:

[1] Eric Thomas Chester, Covert Network: Progressives, the International Rescue Committee, and the CIA, (M.E. Sharpe, 1995), p. 43.

[2] David Halberstam, “The Very Expensive Education of McGeorge Bundy,” Harper's, July 1969.

[3] Alfred Regnery, Upstream: The Ascent of Conservatism, (Simon and Schuster, 2008), Regnery, p. 201.

[4] Vincent Cannato, The Ungovernable City, (Basic Books, 2002), pp. 340 – 351.

[5] Vincent Cannato, The Ungovernable City, (Basic Books, 2002), pp. 340 – 351.

[6] Peter B. Levy, The New Left and Labor in the 1960s, (University of Illinois Press, 1994), p. 80.

[7] Noliwe Rooks, White Money/Black Power: The Surprising History of African American Studies and the Crisis of Race in Higher Education, (Beacon Press, 2007), pp. 88-89.

[8] Juan Sepúlveda, The Life and Times of Willie Velásquez, (Arte Publico Press, 2003), p. 89. 

[9] Alfred Regnery, Upstream: The Ascent of Conservatism, (Simon and Schuster, 2008), p. 200.

[10] Robert Grimm, Notable American Philanthropists: Biographies of Giving and Volunteering, (Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002), p. 97.

[11] Alvin S. Felzenberg, Governor Tom Kean: From the New Jersey Statehouse to the 9-11 Commission, (Rutgers University Press, 2006), pp. 91-92.

[12] Steven Teles, The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement: The Battle for Control of the Law, (Princeton University Press, 2010), p. 46.

[13] Steven Teles, The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement: The Battle for Control of the Law, (Princeton University Press, 2010), p. 46.

[14] Steven Teles, The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement: The Battle for Control of the Law, (Princeton University Press, 2010), p. 49.

[15] Steven Teles, The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement: The Battle for Control of the Law, (Princeton University Press, 2010), p. 49.

[16] Steven Teles, The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement: The Battle for Control of the Law, (Princeton University Press, 2010), p. 49.

[17] William Baker, Endless Money: The Moral Hazards of Socialism, (John Wiley and Sons, 2009), p. 176.

(Information on grantees and monetary amounts courtesy of The Foundation Center, GuideStar, ActivistCash, the Capital Research Center and Undue Influence)

Portions of this profile are excerpted from The New Leviathan, by David Horowitz and Jacob Laksin (Crown Forum, 2012).

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