The Ford Foundation is committed to achieving lasting change that transforms people’s lives. Through their grant making, they support innovative thinkers, leaders and organizations that are working to reduce poverty and injustice and to promote democratic values, free expression and human achievement.
To that end, program teams working on each of their initiatives consult with practitioners, researchers, policy makers, current and potential grantees, and others to identify areas where the foundation’s resources are needed most. The teams then pinpoint specific approaches grantees might undertake—program exploration, advocacy, litigation or capacity building, to name just a few—to help achieve the social change we have identified. The teams also determine key benchmarks for progress and the amount of funding to be dedicated to each approach.
After the approaches, benchmarks and budget are set, the team begins to make grants within the agreed-upon parameters. When making grants, the team looks for new ideas and effective organizations that can help advance the work of a particular initiative, as well as for evidence that the people and organizations are likely to succeed in their project. Program teams regularly provide reports to the foundation’s board of trustees about progress made on each initiative.
To Apply for a Grant
1 Review the Foundation’s Initiatives most relevant to your work. The initiatives are:

  • Democratic and Accountable Government
  • Economic Fairness
  • Educational Opportunity and Scholarship
  • Freedom of Expression
  • Human Rights
  • Metropolitan Opportunity
  • Sexuality and Reproductive Health and Rights
  • Social Justice Philanthropy
  • Sustainable Development

2 Read their Grant Application Guide. It will serve as a useful guide for making the application
3 If you determine that your work aligns with their priorities, submit a Grant Inquiry. (While they welcome submissions, please keep in mind that their funds are limited in relation to the large number of worthwhile inquiries they receive. In a typical year, less than 1 percent of unsolicited inquiries result in a grant.)
Please Note:
It is important that you use our grant inquiry form—and refrain from contacting program officers directly. Given the volume of inquiries we receive, this allows us to log, track and respond quickly to your application.
For more information, visit their website through by clicking here.