Ford Foundation President Darren Walker discusses his journey from childhood poverty in rural Texas to running a $13 billion endowment as well as his efforts to rethink how philanthropies can help fight social inequality.
On philanthropy on the individual and organizational levels: “It’s important to think about making a difference one person at a time. Institutions like Ford, we think about scale, because we should be thinking about scale. But individuals - the ability to change one child’s life, or one family’s trajectory, is the work of a lifetime.”
On working in the private vs. public sector: “I think, first of all, it’s really important that we have good people working in the corporate sector. So, I don’t think that everyone should go and work for a nonprofit because I think the ability to bring empathy and a social consciousness to all facets of our society is needed more than ever. I do think, though, that for some people, the pull, and the tension from doing work that, on days, doesn’t feel gratifying, have to lead one to think about how do you bring your vocation, what you've been trained to do, what you do -- can you bring that closer to an avocation? How do you bring those two things together?”