LAFF Society


Latest News From the Ford Foundation


A Message to Grantees As 2008 draws to a close, the volatile economic climate continues to define the environment in which we work. We have heard from many of you about how this crisis is affecting your endowments and fundraising efforts. The communities we serve are facing even greater hardships. I am writing to share our plans for meeting these challenges and to reaffirm our strong commitment to the work of our grantees. For more than 70 years, the Ford Foundation has worked to advance opportunity and improve the lives of those in the most vulnerable and marginalized communities. Our partnerships with courageous grantees have spurred fundamental change across the legal, economic and social fabric of our communities, helping to create a world in which more people have the chance to achieve their full potential. The heart of our work has always been the steady commitment to our long-term vision. We believe that this farsighted approach is critical, especially in difficult times. While the foundation's endowment portfolio has been affected by volatility in the financial markets, our first priority is to ensure that our grantees have the resources necessary to continue the fight for social justice. In keeping with that commitment, I want you to know about the actions we are taking to manage through this downturn as effectively as possible: 1. In 2009 and 2010, we plan to increase the percentage of our endowment that is paid out in grants, our “payout rate”. 2. The foundation instituted a series of aggressive internal cost controls early in 2008 to ensure that more funds would be available for grant making during this downturn. We know that every dollar saved is a dollar that can be devoted to grant making on behalf of the poor and marginalized. 3. Entering the economic downturn, our portfolio was highly liquid, ensuring that we have the capacity to continue making grants without disruption. 4. These actions will allow us to continue to honor all outstanding grants and, going forward, safeguard our core grant making budget. All of these efforts are designed for a central purpose: to ensure that our grantees have the resources necessary to support their work. This time of economic uncertainty underscores the critical importance of our work together to advance fairness, opportunity and equality for all people. Managing effectively through these economic challenges is difficult but critical to our ability to achieve our mission today and far into the future. Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss any questions or concerns. With warm regards for the holiday season, Luis A. Ubiñas President Ford Foundation


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