Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is a U.S.-based private foundation established in 1936 by Edsel Ford, son of Henry, the founder of the Ford Motor Company. His bequest turned the foundation into the then-largest philanthropy in the world. Guided by a vision of social justice across the world, the foundation works to reduce poverty and injustice, strengthen democratic values, promote international co-operation, and advance human achievement.

The Ford Foundation provided USD 310.5 million for development in 2022 through its grantmaking activities. Compared to 2021, this amount represents an increase by 2% in real terms.

In 2022, the Ford Foundation provided USD 1.6 million of gross development finance to Ukraine to respond to the impacts of Russia’s war of aggression. Moreover, USD 0.7 million was granted in support of Ukrainian refugees and asylum seekers in neighbouring countries.

In 2022, the Ford Foundation provided USD 20.9 million to support developing countries’ COVID-19 response. Of this, 34.2% concerned activities to control the spread of the coronavirus through medical interventions.

In 2022, the Ford Foundation channelled its development finance mostly through non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and civil society (USD 240.9 million), universities, colleges or other teaching institutions, research institutes or think-tanks (USD 39.3 million) and public-private partnerships (PPPs), networks and private sector (USD 24.6 million).

In 2022, the Ford Foundation provided USD 5 million to the multilateral system, representing 1.6% of its development finance, all of which was earmarked for specific countries, regions, themes or purposes. These multilateral contributions were provided to the United Nations (UN) entities (53.2%) and other organisations, notably the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Organisation of American States (AOS).

The UN system received USD 2.6 million from the Ford Foundation in 2022. The most significant UN recipients were PAHO (USD 1 million), UNWOMEN (USD 0.6 million) and ECLAC (USD 0.3 million).

In 2022, civil society organisations (CSOs) received USD 240.9 million of the Ford Foundation’s gross development finance. Of this, 67.1% was allocated to CSOs as core support, while 32.9% was earmarked to specific projects or programmes. Over half (51.8%) of these contributions were provided to NGOs based in developing countries. The Ford Foundation is a leading private provider of core support to civil society.

Learn more about the DAC Recommendation on Enabling Civil Society in Development Co-operation and Humanitarian Aid.

In 2022, Ford Foundation’s development finance was primarily focused on Latin America and the Caribbean and Africa. USD 85.9 million was allocated to Latin America and the Caribbean and USD 69.1 million to Africa, accounting respectively for 27.6% and 22.2% of gross development finance. A sum of USD 102.4 million (33%) was unspecified by region in 2022, mainly including multi-regional programmes and core support.

In 2022, 37.8% of gross development finance went to the top 10 recipients, most notably Brazil, Indonesia, Colombia, Mexico and Nigeria.

Least developed countries (LDCs) received USD 9.8 million (3.2%) of the Ford Foundation’s gross disbursements in 2022. The Ford Foundation allocated the largest share (27.7%) of its development finance to upper middle-income countries in 2022, followed by lower-middle-income countries (21%), noting that USD 149.5 million (48.1%) was unallocated by income group.

Furthermore, the Ford Foundation allocated USD 6 million of its development finance to land-locked developing countries in 2022, and USD 0.8 million to small island developing states (SIDS) in 2022, including Cuba and Jamaica.

Support to fragile contexts reached USD 41.4 million in 2022, representing 13.3% of the Ford Foundation’s development finance. Of this, extremely fragile contexts received a sum of USD 1 million.

Learn more about support to fragile contexts on the States of Fragility platform.

In 2022, 96.1% of the Ford Foundation’s contributions were allocated to social infrastructure and services mostly in support of government and civil society (USD 250.7 million). USD 59.1 was provided to support feminist movements and end violence against women and girls, whereas USD 211.5 million supported human rights, civil society development, media and free flow of information, transparency and accountability, anti-corruption and similar activities.

In 2022, the Ford Foundation committed the largest shares of its contributions to reduced inequalities (SDG 10), peace, justice and strong institutions (SDG 16) and gender equality (SDG 5) of the United Nations 2030 Agenda. Support for gender equality and women’s empowerment amounted to USD 91.5 million. Contributions to combatting climate change totalled USD 30.3 million.

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The methodological notes provide further details on the definitions and statistical methodologies applied, including core and earmarked contributions to multilateral organisations, the Sustainable Development Goal focus of private development finance, channels of delivery, unspecified/unallocated allocations, the gender equality policy marker, and the environment markers.

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