CEO Interview Series: How the Tables Have Turned on Darren Walker

Tuesday, January 28, 2014 -
2:45pm to 6:00pm EST
Philanthropy New York
4th Floor, 79 Fifth Avenue, NYC
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Darren Walker was instrumental in developing Philanthropy New York’s CEO Interview Series and served as our very own James Lipton for the first several immensely successful programs.  His charm, humor and nimble probing made him the perfect interlocutor.  But now, the interviewer becomes the interviewee, and we have our very own “Watch What Happens Next” on our hands. 

As the recently appointed new president of the Ford Foundation, Darren Walker is our guest for the fifth session in our CEO Interview Series.  He was previously vice president for Education, Creativity and Free Expression at the Ford Foundation and previously held leadership roles at Rockefeller Foundation and Abyssinian Development Corporation.  Walker is leading the Foundation during a time of renewed emphasis on inequality, and is in the process of reorganizing this massive funder's grantmaking, investments and staffing to reflect new priorities.   He faces many challenges, but many of his peers have said that Walker has the uncanny ability to build consensus among diverse groups of people.  This interview will be a singular opportunity to engage with a creative and thoughtful philanthropic leader just as he is able to reflect on how he has grappled with the first few months in his new role.

Our new inquisitor for this program is the equally dynamic Phil Henderson, President of the Surdna Foundation.  Mr. Henderson has been with Surdna since 2007, and during his tenure the Foundation has focused intently on cross-programmatic work.  Prior to his appointment at Surdna, Mr. Henderson was vice president of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

We will leave ample time for audience questions and comments. 

An informal reception will follow the program.


•  What Darren Walker and the foundation’s trustees perceive as the most urgent challenges, priorities, and opportunities facing the Ford Foundation in the upcoming years.

Part of the Philanthropy New York CEO Interview Series.

This program is "Partialy Open."  Click the link to learn more about what this means.


•  Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation

•  Phil Henderson (Moderator), President, Surdna Foundation

Designed for

All interested funders.

3:45-4:00 PM Registration 

4:00 – 5:00 PM Interview program

5:00 – 6:00 PM Informal reception


Registration is required by January 25.

Members: To register yourself and/or a colleague at your organization, please click on the link above (visible through January 25).

Non-members: Please email A staff member will contact you regarding payment for a $150 fee.
Please email with any questions.

About the CEO Interview Series

Philanthropy New York’s CEO Interview Series are a set of intimate, engaging and thought-provoking conversations on the future of philanthropy. The live interviews feature CEOs who are advancing some of the most interesting, innovative change in the sector. Think “Inside the Actors Studio,” but with more gravitas.