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Monday, January 22, 2018

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Major Foundations, Eager for Big Change, Aim High
David Gelles, New York Times

November, 2015

Climate change, inequality and a broken criminal justice system are du jour, commanding headlines and emerging as major the issues talking points in the presidential campaign, at least for Democrats. They are also, increasingly, the focus of some of the nation’s largest philanthropies.

The Ford Foundation, with its $12 billion endowment, said this year that it would direct all its giving — about $500 million annually — to combating inequality.

The Rockefeller Foundation, with an endowment of more than $4 billion, is focusing on the theme of resilience, in the hope that its grants will make cities and communities more sustainable.

And the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, with its $6.3 billion endowment, is shaping its giving around “big bets,” including combating climate change and reforming the criminal justice system.

“There is something new going on,” said William Foster, head of consulting at the Bridgespan Group, which works with philanthropies. “As the levels of wealth coming into the nonprofit sector grow, as the aspiration to see actual change in the world continues to grow, people are beginning to focus on these big bets.”

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