Ford Foundation Commits $75 Million in New Funding to the US South

Monday, June 28, 2021

Ford Foundation Commits $75 Million in New Funding to the US South

Grants from proceeds of Ford’s historic social bond offering will fortify organizations advancing justice

NEW YORK (June 28, 2021) - Today, the Ford Foundation announced an additional $75 million commitment to nonprofit and advocacy organizations across the US South. The grants will bolster and fortify the work of organizations across the region who are advancing justice at a moment of historic opportunity.

Through this investment, Ford will significantly strengthen and expand its grantmaking to institutions across the region, bringing the foundation's total giving in the US South to over $175 million since 2016.

The grants include support for organizations and initiatives like the Advancing Black Strategists Initiative at Morehouse CollegeGeorgia Latino Alliance for Human RightsThe Mississippi Center for Cultural Production (Sipp Culture), the Southern Power Fund, the Texas Civil Rights Project, and Women With A Vision. The commitment runs across all the Ford Foundation's US programs areas and will fund:

  • Arts, cultural, and media organizations that are empowering underrepresented voices, sharing untold stories, and allowing historically marginalized communities to drive their own narratives;
  • Advocacy and legal organizations working to safeguard the tentpoles of our democracy by ensuring safe, fair, and equitable access to voting; fair redistricting processes; and increased civic engagement among diverse, multi-ethnic, and rural and urban communities; and
  • Institutions and campaigns that are building power and economic justice by and for working people, and advancing labor and social protections in and outside the workplace.

This latest infusion of funding expands Ford’s commitment to organizations in the Deep South and Rural South, with more than $22 million of the social bond funding directed specifically to organizations in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee and more than $14 million of the social bond funding directed to organizations in rural areas, where nonprofits have been historically under-resourced despite a rich history of effective organizing. Additional funds will reach the Deep and Rural South through grantmaking to organizations working in cities and states across the region.

"There is incredible possibility and organizing taking place across the US South and we have seen firsthand the impact that work can have on the region and the entire United States," said Maria Torres-Springer, Ford Foundation vice president of US programs. “The US South is a seedbed for innovative advocacy and it is our hope that more funders will invest in the leaders and organizations who are paving the way forward.”

Alongside providing direct, general operating support to a variety of grantees across the US South, the Ford Foundation is collaborating with regional grantmakers and funding networks with strong southern ties, to more effectively mobilize, leverage and align resources to ensure that funds support a more robust social justice ecosystem to effectively advance change.

Since the initial announcement in June 2020, the Ford Foundation has used the proceeds from its historic social bond sales to provide $180 million in new funding for US racial justice efforts, invested $85 million in America’s Cultural Treasures to support Black, Latinx, Asian and Indigenous arts organizations and $10 million to advance equity work in Puerto Rico. More grant announcements are forthcoming.

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