News – USA – Darren Walker: How the Head of the Ford Foundation Wants to Change Philanthropy


The man who gives away more than $ 500 million a year shows Lesley Stahl rethinking giving to charity

Imagine if your job gave away more than $ 500 million a year to make the world a better place, this is the enviable – or perhaps unenviable – job of Darren Walker, president of one of the greatest and most well-known philanthropies of this country, the Ford Foundation

Darren Walker is a black gay man who grew up poor in a single parent home in rural Texas He is probably not the one Henry Ford would have chosen to give away the proceeds of the family fortune.Walker believes that at this time of severe and growing inequality – amazing wealth for a few but stagnation for far too many – philanthropy is a profound rethink requires And he uses his checkbook and charm to claim generosity is no longer enough

As president of the Ford Foundation, Darren Walker oversees a $ 14 billion foundation and a listed Manhattan main building that houses more than 1500 grants are given to nonprofits in the U.S. and around the world His grants have helped create giants like Public Broadcasting and Sesame Street, Human Rights Watch and Head Start, a show that Walker says is making a huge difference in his own life as a poor child in East Texas He was in his very first grade

Darren Walker: I had no idea what the Ford Foundation was, I didn’t know what politics was, But I knew I was a happy kid, And I always felt like my country was cheering me on

Walker fears that children living in poverty may not feel cheered on by their country After being elected head of the foundation in 2013 – he had previously been vice president – he did something radical

He announced that any future Ford Foundation grant would help combat inequality in all its forms

Darren Walker: Generosity is actually more about the donor, isn’t it? So when you give money to help a homeless person makes you feel good. Justice is a deeper engagement where you actually ask, “What are the systemic reasons that get people onto the streets?” Generosity makes the donor feel good. Justice implies the donor

Darren Walker: And for you to help you are the person who doesn’t let a homeless shelter come into your neighborhood

Ford Foundation Video: At the Ford Foundation we know that inequality limits the potential of all people …

As part of the foundation’s realignment, Walker changed the way it invests its foundations, investing a billion dollars in what are known as mission-related investments – like companies that build affordable housing.He cut funding to brand names like Lincoln Center and increased grants for the Apollo Theater and Studio Museum in Harlem

Another novelty, a new program called Build, that grants nonprofits a billion dollars in grants and allows them to choose how to spend the money, even if they want to add staff or new computers

Lesley Stahl: That’s not intuitive. Because I think most people really want to know that the vast majority of the money they give is used for the program itself

Darren Walker: All the non-exciting parts of a nonprofit need to be paid – technology and infrastructure that pay rent. It’s both arrogant and ignorant to believe that you can give money to an organization for your project, and not care Providing the infrastructure that makes your project possible

Walker has also made changes internally, selling the Foundation’s old art collection – 400 works by white artists, all but one male – and buying new works by various contemporary artists like this Kehinde Wiley portrait of a Brooklyn woman depicted as king and which he corrected at the entrance to the Walker Foundation comes from a large southern family whose matriarch was the daughter of slaves

He grew up in rural Ames, Texas, the separate part of a county ironically called Liberty.COVID prevented us from traveling to Ames with Walker, but a local camera crew was able to find their first home – now left – with it he could give us a virtual tour

Darren Walker: That house was a little shotgun shack on a dirt road. The thing about a shotgun house usually has one door and two rooms –

Darren Walker: I met my father once I was about four years old and my cousin brought me over and said, “Joe, this is your son, Darren, and won’t you say hello?” and he wouldn’t come out of the house. I actually never saw his face because the screen door covered most of his face

Darren Walker: I think it’s painful, but I think it is too – there’s a resilience that comes from it

– who saved up to buy the Encyclopedia Britannica for her children, one volume at a time

Beulah Spencer: I would say, “Darren “If you were silent for just 25 minutes, I’ll give you a quarter”

A tough student, he was elected to the student council of his predominantly white high school, and attended UT-Austin on a college and law scholarship. He moved to New York to work at a top law firm, then in bank sales of bonds, and met his decade-long partner David, who suddenly passed away two years ago, Walker sent his younger sisters to college, then left banking to do community development work in Harlem, and has been in philanthropy ever since

Especially when that talkative little boy took her to a state dinner at the White House where she kept talking

Beulah Spencer: I spoke to President Obama and Darren who were standing in the background and said, “Mother, (LAUGHING), move on, move on”

Darren Walker: Because she (LAUGHING) said hello to the President and should move on, she took his hand

If Walker has a superpower, he can easily get along with just about anyone Before COVID, he comfortably mingled with New York high society – many of his close friends with a salary of nearly a million dollars, he knows what it’s like to be in the lower 1% and now to be in the upper

Darren Walker: Let me be clear, Lesley I am a capitalist I believe there is no better way to organize an economy than capitalism

But he says the system went wrong and the richest 90 people were as wealthy as the bottom half of the country put together

Darren Walker: I want to challenge capitalism to do what it is supposed to do and that is to provide an opportunity

Darren Walker: It is unthinkable to me that it has become normalized in American culture that you can work full time and still be poor. That contradicts our idea of ​​this country. And Lesley, this is not just a problem for African-Americans and LatinX folks We have, for the first time in America, a generation of downward-looking whites

Lesley Stahl: The interesting thing is that the leader is usually outside the tent and yells in when something changes. You’re inside. You go to all these galas

Darren Walker: As a person who is in the room sometimes, I think that one of the things I do in the room is to talk about uncomfortable truths

And often people sway in the room.After almost 40 years of estrangement, Walker succeeded in reconciling the Ford family and the Henry Ford II Foundation Separated in the 1970s after clashes over the inclusion of women on the board and politics was too liberal in his opinion.Walker took advantage of his superpower and turned to matriarch Martha Firestone Ford Then he convinced Henry Ford III to join a far more diverse board

This was the last face-to-face meeting of the Board of Directors prior to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic Then George Floyd was killed, with both issues of inequality becoming the focus of national conversation like never before, as did nonprofits, including those in the arts, battling for their lives

Darren Walker: The theaters were closed in the dark. Museums. All things that we support here in the foundation were in need, so people panicked

Walker worked from home and devised a secret plan – something no foundation had done before – to raise a billion dollars by issuing bonds to help the foundation make payments to needy arts and racial justice scholars The bonds were rated triple A and sold out in less than an hour

Lesley Stahl: It had to be that your background suddenly came in because you were a bond seller

Darren Walker: To be completely honest, it was less my knowledge of the bond market than the urgency to do something

Walker Urges Everyone to Do Something He’s Turned the Ford Foundation Building into a Vaccination Site And in a provocative New York Times statement, he wrote that people with wealth and power have some to share

Lesley Stahl: You’re asking people who are so invested in the system that it gives them the privilege of giving up I don’t know if it’s human nature

Darren Walker: I agree with you Lesley, it’s not human nature to give up privilege, especially when you feel like it’s hard to deserve.But at the end of the day, we elites need to understand that while we benefit from this inequality but ultimately disintegrating the very fabric of America. We have to give up part of our privilege if we want America to survive

Produced by Shari Finkelstein Associate Producer, Braden Cleveland Bergan Justin Hayter, Associate Producer on site broadcast staff Wren Woodson Ed By Joe Schanzer

Lesley Stahl, one of America’s best-known and most experienced radio journalists, has been the 60-minute correspondent since 1991

Ford Foundation, Darren Walker, 60 minutes, CBS News, Lesley Stahl

News – USA – Darren Walker: How the head of the Ford Foundation wants to change philanthropy