OVERVIEW: The iconic Ford Foundation is respected worldwide, with a global reach and a vast range of grantmaking interests including focus areas in inequality, social justice, freedom of expression, and workforce development.
IP TAKE: Though Ford no longer has a dedicated education or college readiness program, it still offers grants outside its named focus areas, some of which have gone to education initiatives in the recent past.
PROFILE: Founded in 1936 by Henry Ford's son, Edsel Ford, the Ford Foundation is one of the world's largest and best-known philanthropic organizations. It operates an array of national and international programs, with the goal of promoting “a world in which all individuals, communities, and peoples work toward the protection and full expression of their human rights; are active participants in the decisions that affect them; share equitably in the knowledge, wealth, and resources of society; and are free to achieve their full potential.” Its main focus areas include Civic Engagement and Government, Creativity and Free Expression, Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Justice, Internet Freedom, Natural Resources and Climate Change, Cities and Regions, and Future of Work.
Although Ford does not fund many college readiness initiatives through its main focus areas, it maintains room in its funding for projects “Beyond Current Issue Structure,” which frequently include grants for college readiness. Recent grantees in this area include Harlem Children’s Zone, which works to “strengthen families and ensure children succeed from birth to college graduation,” United Way for Southeastern Michigan “to expand access to high-quality college and career pathways for students in Detroit public schools,” and Sponsors for Educational Opportunity “to prepare low-income students from New York City public schools for college and career success.”
Grants for college readiness typically range from $100,000 to $1 million. More information on past grant recipients can be found in the program's grants database.
Ford accepts letters of inquiry at any time through its online form and, if interested, will respond within 45 days of submission.
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