Philanthropists need to get ‘uncomfortable’ to change sector, Ford Foundation president says

Philanthropists need to get ‘uncomfortable’ to change sector, Ford Foundation president says



2/2

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2/2

(Reuters)

Philanthropists
should
get
“uncomfortable”
and
acknowledge
the
benefits
some
of
them
have
reaped
from
a
system
of
social
and
economic
inequality
exacerbated
by
the
coronavirus
pandemic
if
philanthropy
is
to
focus
on
justice
rather
than
charity,
Darren
Walker,
the
president
of
the
Ford
Foundation
said
on
Wednesday.

“The
work
of
philanthropy
should
be
to
pursue
justice
and
dignity,
which
requires
the
philanthropists
to
get
uncomfortable
because
it
requires
the
philanthropists
to
acknowledge
his
or
her
culpability
in
the
conditions
that
bring
about
injustice,”
Walker,
who
has
been
at
the
helm
of
one
of
the
largest
private
foundations
in
the
United
States
since
2013,
said
during
an
interview
at
the
Reuters
Next
conference.

Walker,
who
grew
up
in
poverty
in
a
small
Texas
town
in
the
1960s
before
ascending
to
the
upper
echelons
of
society,
advocated
for
greater
transparency
from
philanthropic
organizations
to
ensure
accountability
on
how
tax-exempt
dollars
are
spent.

He
also
said
philanthropies
should
provide
more
unrestricted
support
to
projects.

“I
think
what
we
have
too
much
of
are
investors,
philanthropists,
who
say,
‘I
know
what
you
need
to
do
so’
rather
than
treating
you
like
the
leader
of
an
organization.”

Last
year
forced
a
reckoning,
spurred
by
the
pandemic
and
nationwide
protests
against
police
brutality,
over
the
deep-rooted,
historic
inequalities
experienced
by
historically
marginalized
groups,
including
Black
and
brown
Americans.

Walker
said
he
wants
to
focus
on
strengthening
democracy.

“We
have
to
talk
about
the
reality
that
we
have
a
system
of
white
supremacy,”
Walker
said.
“The
ultimate
answer
to
the
question
of
reparations
is
democracy
because
when
we
are
a
more
democratic
America,
we
won’t
need
reparations.
We
will
have
an
empowered
citizenry
where
Blacks,
whites,
brown
Americans
all
participate
in
the
bounty
of
this
country.”

For
more
coverage
from
the
Reuters
Next
conference
please
click
here
or
www.reuters.com/business/reuters-next

To
watch
Reuters
Next
live,
visit
https://www.reutersevents.com/events/next/register.php


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