The Ford Foundation is a private, non-profit, philanthropic organization dedicated to international peace and the advancement of human welfare. It seeks to identify and contribute to the solution of problems of national and international importance. The Foundation works primarily by providing support for applied research, training, experimentation, advocacy and developmental efforts that are innovative and promise significant advances in its field of interest. The goals of the Foundation are to:
> Strengthen democratic value.
> reduce poverty and injustice.
> promote international cooperation; and
> advance human achievement.
Founded in 1936, the Foundation operated as a local philanthropy in the state of Michigan, U.S.A., until 1950 when it expanded to become a national and international foundation. Since then it has provided over $12 billion in grants. These funds derive from an investment portfolio started with gifts and bequests from Henry and Edsel Ford. Over the years, the Foundation has diversified its investment portfolio to provide a perpetual source of support for its programs and operations. The total endowment of the Foundation is currently $10 billion. It has no commercial or religious affiliation and receives no funding from governments or from any other outside source.
Since the Foundation’s resources are models when compared to the problems it seeks to address, it focuses on a limited number of program strategies within its over-arching goals. In doing so, it brings together women and men who have diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives. Moreover, it also encourages broad participation and partnership in problem solving, and involves individuals and institutions from the non-government, government and business sectors, with special attention to those living and working closest to where the problems are located. This diversity and collaboration help to build common understanding and attempt to empower people to make significant and long-lasting improvements in their lives and communities.
An international Board of Trustees sets policy for the Foundation and delegates authority for grant-making to the President and senior staff. Program Offices in New York and the 12 overseas field offices explore opportunities to pursue its goals, formulate strategies, and recommend proposals for funding. A report on its activities, which also contains a list of grants made during the year is published annually and is available on request.
New Delhi Office
At the invitation of Prime Minster Jawaharlal Nehru, the Foundation established on office in India in 1952. It was the Foundation’s first program outside the United States, and remains the largest of its overseas field operations. Through its office in New Delhi, the Foundation also serves Nepal and Sri Lanka.
During the first two decades, the Foundation operated both as a grant-making organization and on implementing agency, and focused primarily on agriculture and rural development. It maintained a large staff that provided technical assistance and implemented many projects directly. Since 1972, the Foundation has functioned mainly as a grant-making institution, providing funds to academic institutions and research organizations, government agencies and non-government entities.
The Foundation’s program of support has evolved in response to changing needs and priories. Over the past five decades, the Foundation has made major commitments in the areas of agriculture and rural development, forest and natural resource management, reproductive health, livelihood, human rights, governance, education and culture, regional cooperation and security, and the promotion of in-country philanthropy. Grants in these fields have been designed to strengthen individual and institutional capabilities, support innovative concepts and approaches, and promote generation and sharing of knowledge.
The New Delhi office is headed by a Representative who is assisted by a group of internationally recruited program staff. This team of professionals seeks out promising opportunities in areas of program priority. Grant applications are carefully evaluated by the program staff who work with prospective partners to develop projects and recommend grants for funding Grants are not normally given for individual scholarships, travel or study abroad, or for the construction and maintenance of buildings.
Since its establishment in 1952, the New Delhi office has made 3,640 grants totaling around $502 million to more than 1,200 institutions. These grants include support for organizations in Nepal and Sri Lanka whose work contributes to the solution of problems within the region. The preset annual program budget of the New Delhi office is around $15 million.
Programs at the New Delhi Office
The Foundation has been privileged to have participated in the remarkable progress and achievements made by India and the South Asian region during the past fifty years. It also shares in the subcontinent’s continuing concerns. Despite significant economic growth and technological advancement, large numbers of people continue to live in absolute poverty. Furthermore, persistent inequities in access to resources and services, heightened conflicts and incidence of violence, growing social and cultural alienation, and continued deterioration of the natural resource base are among the elements of this development paradox.
In responding to these challenges, the Foundation is guided by the fundamental belief in the importance of encouraging ‘solutions through the initiative of those living and working closest to where the problems are. The Foundation also strongly believes in the value of ensuring the participation of women and men from diverse communities, from different sectors and at all levels of society. Grant-leaking in all programs attempts to primarily serve the historically disadvantaged, particularly those among the poorest of the population.
Strategies, approaches and projects are designed to especially benefit the most marginalized, those who are most vulnerable, excluded and farthest from centers of power, knowledge and opportunities. Women, dalits, advises and issues that affect them are at the core of Foundation programs. The Foundation’s priorities are to support grassroots organizations, citizens groups and social movements that work to uplift and empower the poor. The Foundation also supports government agencies, civil society, academic and research institutions, and advocacy organizations.
The Foundation organizes its grant-making around three major programs:
> Asset Building and Community Development.
> Peace and Social Justice, and
> Knowledge, Creativity and Freedom.
Each major program is, in turn, organized along fields and initiatives. In some cases, individual fields also respond to unique grant-making opportunities that may not directly relate to initiatives but promise significant scope for innovation and learning.
These fields and initiatives are described in more detail in the inserts at the back of its brochure.
Asset Building and Community Development
There are an estimated 300 million people living below the poverty line in South Asia. One of the leading causes of poverty is the lack of assets – financial, physical, natural, human and social. A lack of assets is the main reason for the vulnerability of the poor and their inability to cope with unforeseen circumstances. Access to assets can enable people to raise incomes and improve living standards.
The Ford Foundation’s Asset Building and Community Development program supports efforts by individuals and organizations to build a bundle of assets in ways that reduce poverty, discrimination and injustice. As durable resources, these assets are transferable across generations and provide a basis for enduring solutions for problems of persistent poverty.
The Foundation supports efforts towards asset creation by :
> Promoting more equitable, productive and sustainable management of natural resources and
> Creating economic opportunities, improving livelihoods and developing financial institutions responsive to the needs of poor and disadvantaged people.
Better management of natural resources is promoted by greater access to common property resources, more equitable use, greater benefits through local value addition and more sustainable management.
Asset Building and Community Development
Environment and Development
The Environment and Development program seeks to advance new thinking, innovation and development practice that is compatible with the sustainable and equitable use of natural resources and environmental services. Natural resources include forests, agro biodiversity rich areas, fisheries and coastal waters that underpin many rural economies. Environmental services range from promoting clean air, maintaining biological diversity and contributing to the capacity of watersheds to replenish and purify water.
The Foundation supports efforts to integrate environmental conservation with strategies to improve livelihoods, create new economic opportunities and increase social equity. It supports resource dependent and especially marginalized communities to build social networks, increase their capacity to better manage resources, secure tenure and resource rights and use various strategies to assure equitable long-term access to natural resources. Respect for diverse cultural values and vitality are also important components of these strategies.
Through this program, the Foundation funds two major initiatives – community-based natural resource management and conservation-linked enterprise development. Grants in both initiatives support interventions at local, state and national levels. Federations of people’s organizations, social movements and membership organizations are given priority. Funds are provided for capacity development, action-research, pilot experiments, networking and policy advocacy.
Community-based natural resource management
This initiative supports efforts to promote equitable access, sustainable use and participatory management of natural resources within communities landscape. Priority is given to projects that:
> Promote environmentally friendly land use patterns and management approaches, which equitably distribute benefits and fairly allocate costs among resource users;
> Facilitate the evolution of equitable, accountable and efficient institutions capable of achieving scales necessary effective integrated resource management; and
> Ensure the partipation of poor and marginalized communities in management decision-making from the scale of individual resources to higher landscape levels.
Conservation-linked enterprise development
This initiative supports efforts to promote individual and collective asset creation through enterprises organized around the sustainable, equitable and efficient use and management of natural resources. Grants support projects that :
> Strengthen local capacities, facilitate economies of scale and increase efficiency through economically viable enterprises involving consortia, federations and networks of local resource users;
> Promote application of local knowledge and appropriate technology for better management of resources, local value addition and greater benefits to local communities; and
> Facilitate reinvestment of returns from enterprises in natural resources quality improvement, community development and livelihood security.
In addition to the above, the Foundation will make “opportunity” grants to address the challenges faced by vulnerable communities in the mountains and coastal areas.
The Foundation and its partners will measure progress as :
> Better and more secure access of poor and marginalized communities to environmental assets and to the incomes, livelihoods and values derived from them;
> Improved condition of natural assets in areas where the Foundation is working;
> Enhanced community capacity to participate in decision-making on environment and development issues;
> Increased public awareness of the value of sustanaible development and environmental services; and
> Policies and processes in both the public and private sectors that promote equitable and sustainable resource management.
Asset Building and Committee Development
Development Finance and Economic Security
The Foundation’s economic development program aims to reduce poverty and social injustice and to improve the well-being of poor and marginalized people by enabling them to better access resources and in formation and to build assets, skills and capabilities.
Making micro-finance more accessible
Micro-finance, including both credit and savings, has proven to be an important instrument in poverty reduction. Even small amounts of credit can help change people’s economic circumstances by enabling them to have more working capital or to buy income-producing assets such as milch animals or to reduce indebtedness.
Micro-finance is now available through a variety of organizations that have successfully demonstrated that it is possible to make loans to poor people in a financially sustainable way. However, millions of people still do not have access to sound and reliable ways to save and borrow money. The Foundation seeks to change this and to enhance the development impact of micro-finance by:
> Strengthening the capacity of micro-finance organizations to expand outreach, especially to poor women, dalits, low-caste and indigenous people;
> Enhancing skills and leadership capacity among poor people to build their own micro-finance and development organizations;
> Strengthening micro-finance organizations through improvements in internal systems, better public policies, and enhanced sector capacities and standards; and
> Leveraging greater resources for micro-finance from government and commercial sources, especially banks.
A growing labor force, limited job creation and high rates of unemployment limit the livelihood options of poor people, the vast majority of whom work in the informal sector in a wide range of activities. They include-scale agriculture, petty trade, crafts production and services in which risks are high and return low. Opportunities for advancement are limited because people lack skills; education, training, and financial and other resources. They also lack access to markets conditions. Most enterprise development programs focus more on training, credit and other supply side factors with very title reference to market demand and coordination of services.
Finally, efforts to strengthen poor poeple’s livelihood are limited because, unlike in micro-finance, standardized best practices are not yet available for livelihoods promotion.
The Foundation’s economic program seeks to fill these gaps by :
> Promoting market responsive and demand-led enterprise development services to micro and small entrepreneurs; and
> Improving policies and programs based on sound research or practical experience to enable micro and small entrepreneurs to better access emerging local and global market opportunities. This aspect of the program also focuses on high impact sectors such as agriculture and the informal economy in which a large proportion of low -income workers are employed.
Leveraging rights for economic security
Poor people, including women, dalits, low-caste and indigenous people, face severe discrimination on a daily basis. Not only is such discrimination a violation of people’s human rights, it is also a significant barrier in overcoming poverty. There is growing awareness that livelihoods and development are human rights and that various types of rights – social, civil, political, and economic – are interlinked and mutually reinforcing.
The Foundation supports these efforts by :
> Building knowledge and awareness about the links between social discrimination and poverty and ways to address poverty and economic security from a human rights perspective; and
> Encouraging application of rights-based perspectives and strategies in poverty reduction and livelihoods programs as, for example, by drawing upon international and national commitments and mechanisms for compliance to realize economic rights.
Peace and Social Justice
Enormous changes have taken place worldwide during the last decade. Innovations in technology and communications have revolutionized people’s abilities to share and exchange information and ideas across continents. Globalization and integration of the world’s economies have brought significant changes in people’s working lives. Ethnic, social and geo-political shifts have rewritten geographic boundaries and transformed relations between and among countries.
Despite increased communication and information exchanges, social and ethnic conflict and political violence continue to remain pervasive across the subcontinent. Vast numbers of people continue to live in extreme poverty lacking access to basic resources like food, water and land.
Women of particular ethnic or religious groups continue to experience discrimination and large scale human rights violations are committed by state and non-state actors with impunity. Many also do not have access to basic services, including those necessary for their reproductive and sexual health.
The challenges posed by this highly dynamic, complex and uncertain environment guide the Foundation’s efforts in Peace and Social Justice; Programs in this area work towards :
> Fostering effective, open, accountable, and responsive governmental institutions to secure the rule of law and the narrowing of inequality;
> Strengthening civil society through broader participation of individuals and civic organizations in charting the future;
> Supporting regional and international cooperation toward a more peaceful and equitable international order based on tolerance among diverse people;
> Promoting justice and ensuring the protection of human rights with a special emphasis on the assertion and protection of the rights of women.
Peace and Social Justice
The Foundation’s governance work in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka is based on the conviction that deepening of democracy is possible only when citizens themselves address the existing democratic deficits at different levels of governance. Under this program, the Foundation focuses specifically on the issue of representation and voice by supporting organizations that are committed to effective citizen participation especially of women and marginalized groups of several levels of governance including local and global. The Foundation also works towards;
> Building capacity of elected representatives at the local level;
> Strengthening institutions and the network of citizens at the regional and global levels; and
> Supporting innovative research, documentation, advocacy and training that not only explicate the causes of democratic deficit but also propose solutions that link different levels of governance for better result.
As part of this concern, the Foundation supports efforts that generate and disseminate empirical and comparative knowledge regarding the redistributive and welfares functions of the state; promote greater understanding of policy making process in the context of globalization; and strengthen capacity building of organizations that work towards achieving greater accountability and transparency of state institutions. The Foundation’s support in promoting accountable governance focuses not only on the effective use of too Is such as budget analysis, right to information law by citizen groups, but also on innovative strategies that create synergy between marginalized groups and state institutions. Limited funds will also be available to support south-south dialogue and networking on the state and globalization.
Peace and Social Justice
The Civil Society program of the Foundation’s New Delhi office seeks to strengthen civil society in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka in three areas of interest :
> Promoting domestic philanthropy and resource mobilization, with an emphasis on philanthropy for social justice;
> Strengthening civil society as a democratic, participatory public sphere; and
> Fostering pluralism and peaceful co-existence.
Both current and new grantees are eligible for support. This program is particularly interested in reaching out to groups outside of major urban areas, as well as to potential applicants in Nepal and Sri Lanka.
The Foundation is particularly concerned with the development of social justice philanthropy, as opposed to philanthropy for welfare or charitable purposes.
Under this initiative, the Foundation supports :
> The development and growth of intermediary grant-making institutions that operate at the local, state or national level in order to promote social change and social justice (examples include village-level philanthropic institutions, community foundations, or women’s funds);
> Capacity building around governance, strategic grant-making, and resource mobilization for community-based and social justice philanthropies, as well as opportunities for peer learning and exchange;
> Research efforts by academic institutions that broaden knowledge of community-based and social justice philanthropy; and
> Effective media strategies in order to broaden and deepen public understanding of and support for civil society and philanthropy.
Strengthening civil society as a democratic, participatory public sphere
The initiative attempts to :
> Strengthen the research, communication, advocacy and leadership capacities of key civil society organizations, coalitions and networks that advance the foundation’s social justice goals and that represent the concerns of marginalized group;
> Support the development of watchdog groups, that use the public sphere to articulate and advance public interest goals;
> Strengthen the ability of South Asian civil society organizations to use the global public sphere to advance domestic social justice concerns; and
> Support coalition building and strengthening in order to create linkages across communities, issues, and geographic levels.
Promoting pluralism and peaceful co-existence
Promoting pluralism and peaceful co-existence builds upon prior work supported by the Foundation. Limited funds will be available in this area to support two areas of work:
> Research and dissemination that deepens understanding about pluralism and co-existence, as well as about the role of associational life; and,
> Civil society efforts that promote pluralism through diverse strategies (the program is exploring opportunities to collaborate with the Governance, Education, Arts and Culture, and Economic Development programs in order to foster pluralism from a multi-faceted approach).
Peace and Social Justice
Sexuality, Reproductive Health and Rights
The Sexuality, Reproductive Health and Rights program of the New Delhi office as part of the Foundation’s Peace and Social Justice program attempts to promote and secure reproductive and sexual health and rights for women and address issues of discrimination. It is firmly anchored on the conviction that women’s health needs can be adequately addressed only when there is a simultaneous improvement in the status of women in society. The long term vision of this program is therefore to effect social transformation around women’s rights. By using women’s sexual and reproductive health as the vehicle but moving beyond that to larger issues of social justice, the program is aimed at questioning underlying inequalities and discrimination and affirming the fundamental value of human agency. It attempts to assist and empower communities and individuals, particularly historically disadvantaged women, to demand and access quality services that effectively meet their sexual and reproductive health needs. It also supports efforts that enable women to control and articulate their reproductive health and rights.
Through support to ‘NGOs, researchers and government agencies, the program addresses the underlying social, cultural, legal, political and economic factors that limit people’s ability to address and claim sexual and reproductive rights in India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. This is sought to be done through a program consisting of three initiatives.
Reframing strategies for reproductive health and rights
This initiative attempts to strengthen efforts made to address and reanove political, institutional and technical barriers so as to ensure that women are able to exercise the full range of reproductive rights, free of coercion and discrimination.
Promoting and securing sexual rights
Women’s lack of control over sexual decisions and the culture of silence surrounding issues of sexuality have led to the neglect of their sexual health. It has also increased control over sexual rights of women and vulnerable groups. Additionally, the lack pf a proper understanding of sexuality itself has led to insular strategies being adopted in addressing youth and HIV/AIDS issues. The initiative is aimed at deepening a positive, life enhancing understanding of sexuality. Primarily, it promotes sexual well-being as a key organizing principle of policies and programs.
Addressing gender violence and ensuring the rights of vulnerable groups
This initiative is premised on an understanding of the intersectional of gender violence, sexuality and women’s health. Women suffer from violence and its consequences because of their gender and unequal status in society. The fallout of violence on women’s health is deep and long lasting but invariably left unaddressed. The initiative attempts to strengthen institutional, legal and civil society’s response to gender violence and remove vulnerability to violence of people infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.
Knowledge, Creative and Freedom
The New Delhi office’s Educations, Arts and Culture Program is part of the larger unit called knowledge, Creativity and Freedom which aims to build knowledge, encourage creativity, and secure greater freedom of expression for all people, especially the poor, women and minorities. In the new global context created by increasing trans-national flow of goods, peoples, technologies, information, ideas, and images, this Program seeks to nurture the freedom to think creatively and innovatively, and to strengthen institutional and individual capacities to produce knowledge equitably and democracally. Our grant making in this area is based on our belief that knowledge and creativity are central to the richness of people’s lives and the progress of communities, and reiterates our long-term commitment to strengthening endangered historical, cultural, and artistic resources that form the living fabric of socially marginalized and economically disadvantaged groups. The Program also affirms the importance of the freedom to think and act critically, innovatively and responsibly in facilitating the creation and maintenance of just and plural societies.
The Program works towards :
> Enhancing individual and institutional capacities in the social sciences and the humanities to access and shape global knowledge-production;
> Improving and expanding opportunities for higher education, especially for historically excluded groups, and supporting scholarship and research that deepens our understanding of marginalization and discrimination;
> Strengthening the academic presence of arts and culture disciplines in institutions of higher learning, as well as fostering the use of the arts to improve the curriculum, instruction, student motivation, and student achievement in schools;
> Promoting pluralistic artistic expression in public areas, especially in schools and colleges.
Knowledge, Creativity and Freedom
Higher Education and Scholarship
In an environment where public investment in advanced education has traditionally been given a relatively low priority by national governments and international donors, the Foundation’s Higher Education and Scholarship program focuses on support for post-secondary higher education in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.
Grant making in this program focuses on providing scholars and institutions with improved access to current information and electronic knowledge and on enhancing their capacity to become key players in the global areas of scholarship as well to develop and maintain plural and diverse communities in the region.
The International Fellowships Program (www.ifpsa.org<http://www.ifpsa.org/>) provides opportunities for advanced study to exceptional individuals belonging to social groups and communities that lack systematic access to higher education.
Knowledge, Creativity and Freedom
Arts and Culture
Over the past decade, the Arts and Culture program focused on fostering diversity by supporting the documentation, preservation, dissemination, and revitalization of folklore, especially of marginalized communities. In addition to revitalizing folklore traditions, the initiative sought to deepen the understanding of folklore as an interdisciplinary field of study, and to enhance awareness and appreciation of expressive and material folk arts of India among broad audiences. Towards these ends, the Foundation supported various folklore institutions across the country including the National Folklore Support Centre in Chennai, which has evolved into a key partner in the field, and now regularly publishes the Indian Folklore Research Journal.
Under the arts education, initiative, the program therefore works towards :
> Increasing the academic presence in institution of higher learning of a wide array of artistic and creative disciplines such as history of art, cultural studies, ethnomusicology and music theory, and film and media studies;
> Fostering the use of the arts in schools to improve the curriculum, instruction, student motivation and student achievement;
> Preserving and disseminating products of artistic and cultural activities, especially through their transformation into achieves for the use of practitioners and scholars globally;
> Promoting pluralistic artistic expression and cultural forms in the public arena, especially in colleges and schools; and
> Nurturing the use of arts and cultural practices in strengthening values of secularism, tolerance and peace.
The goal is to systematically institutionalize the idea of arts education and make it a self-sustaining proposition, so that the principles of creavitity, expression, innovation, and freedom become central to formal pedagogy in the subcontinent.
Program Staff (Jan 2005)
|Executive Assistant Secretary||Tahina Sunder|
Asset Building and Community Development
|Program Officer, Environment and Development||Vasant Saberwal|
|Program Secretary||To be recruited|
|Program Officer, Development Finance and Economic Security||Rekha Mehra|
|Program Secretary||Renuka Agarwala|
Peace and Social Justice
|Program Officer, Sexuality, Reproductive Health and Rights||Roshmi Goswami|
|Program Secretary||Sundari Kumar|
|Program Officer, Local – Global Governance||Bishnu Mahapatra|
|Program Secretary||Savita Sinha|
|Program Officer, Civil Society||Sushma Raman|
|Program Secretary||Sunita Rana|
Knowledge, Creativity and Freedom
|Program Officer, Education, Arts and Culture||Sumathi Ramaswamv|
|Program Secretary||Charu Gupta|
Grants and Information Services
|Manager, Grants and Information Services||Neera Sood|
|Grants Administrators||Rekha Kapoor, Mana Challu|
|Information Officer||K. R. Raghunathan|
Senior Administrative Staff
|General Services Manager||S. Chellani|
|Manager, Finance and Accounts||Neera Uppal|
Guidelines and Application Procedures
How to apply for a grant
The Foundation does not have a standard application form. Applicants are encouraged to write a letter of inquiry to the appropriate Program Officer to determine whether the Foundation’s current program priorities and available funds permit consideration of a specific proposal. If the initial reaction is favorable, a detailed proposal may be invited containing the following:
The Foundation supports diversity and affirmative action goals in its grant-making and internal policies. The opportunities that prospective grantee organizations provide for minorities, disadvantaged groups and women are considered in evaluating grant proposals. A full statement of minority representation and a numerical profile of staff and governing board members by gender with designation and institutional affiliation should be included in the proposal. Applications are considered throughout the year. Normally, applicants may expect to receive within a month on initial indication of whether their proposals are within the Foundation’s program interest and budgetary limitations.
Any legally constituted organization or individual is eligible to receive a Foundation grant. Grants are available solely for educational, scientific, literary and charitable activities, as stipulated by United States tax lows regulating the operation of private philanthropies.
Types of grants
Most of the Foundation’s grant funds are given to organizations, including universities, governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations. Grants can be made for specific projects or for general support of an organization whose work closely parallels the Foundation’s program interests. Grants to individuals are rarely given and are limited to activities related to the Foundation’s program interest that cannot be funded by a grant to an organization.
The Foundation does not award undergraduate or graduate scholarships or make grants for purely personal or local needs. As a general rule, the Foundation does not support individual study tours or attendance at conferences. All grants are made on the basis of the merit of the proposals and their potential contribution to the advancement of the Foundation’s program objectives.
The Foundation’s activities in India are governed by a memorandum of understanding signed with the Government of India. Under the terms of this memorandum, prior approval of the Government of India is necessary before a grant can be made to an individual or organization within India.
On occasion, permission from the relevant state government is required. Normally, institutions with a foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) number receive clearance within 30 days. However, institutions without an FCRA number are required to apply for “Prior Permission” and this procedure usually takes three months or more. Delays beyond the prescribed period cannot be ruled out.
THE FORD FOUNDATION
55 Lodi Estate, New Delhi 110 003
Telephone: 91-11-24619441/2464 8401