"Ford Shifts Grant Making To Focus Entirely on Inequality" is the headline on the Chronicle of Philanthropy news article about the Ford Foundation, which has more than $12 billion in assets.
The article reports on a letter from the Ford Foundation's president, Darren Walker. It said in part:
Among these many trends, the one we returned to again and again was the growth of inequality in our world. Not just the economic disparities that have emerged in global debates these past few years but also inequality in politics and participation; in culture and creative expression; in education and economic opportunity; and in the prejudicial ways that institutions and systems marginalize low-income people, women, ethnic minorities, Indigenous peoples, and people of color.
We are talking about inequality in all its forms—in influence, access, agency, resources, and respect. We would argue that inequality, in one form or another, is coded into just about every one of our social ills. Research demonstrates that extreme inequality weakens economic growth and undermines the social cohesion of societies.
The Ford Foundation's most recent tax return reports that Mr. Walker's predecessor, Luis Ubinas, was paid $1,891,441 in compensation and $109,294 in benefits for his final year, a sum that "INCLUDES SALARY OF $898,571 FOR THE PERIOD FROM 01/01/13 TO 09/05/13, POST-EMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION OF $954,622 PAID IN 2013 AND PREVIOUSLY UNTAXED DEFFERED COMPENSATION OF $38,248 PAID IN 2013. EXCLUDES $249,045 OF PREVIOUSLY TAXED DEFFERED COMPENSATION THAT WAS REPORTED ON A PRIOR YEAR(S) 990-PF AND PAID IN 2013."
The foundation's staff also included a $1.3 million a year director of investment administration, a $927,148 a year director of private equity, an $889,992 a year director of asset allocation, and a $723,728 a year director of hedge funds, according to the tax return.
Maybe if the Ford Foundation is so concerned about inequality, they might think about giving away the $12 billion — not just the income it generates, but the principal — to everyone equally, and shut down themselves, their highly paid staff and their fancy New York headquarters.