In our latest Masters in Business podcast, we speak with Darren Walker, president of the $12.5 billion Ford Foundation.
Walker, who comes from very humble beginnings, describes what its like to run one of the nation’s largest foundations. He was born in a charity hospital in Lafayette, Louisiana, raised by a single mother in LA. and later Texas; and was one of the country’s first children to benefit from the Head Start Program.
He began his career as an Attorney (he worked at Cleary Gottlieb) and an investment banker (at UBS). He presently serves on the Boards of Carnegie Hall, New York City Ballet, High Line, Arcus Foundation, Council on Foreign Relations, American Academy of Arts and Sciences; he is also co-chair of the New York Public Library Council, vice-chairman at the New York City Ballet.
Given the Ford Foundation’s broad mission – “Advancing human welfare” –selecting different causes to fund is an ongoing challenge. Walker explains how the foundation selects specific groups to fund, issues grants, and monitors the results, tracking just how effective each grant is.
If you are all interested in philanthropy and how specific causes are funded, this is very much a must listen podcast.
Next week, we speak with John Bogle, founder of Vanguard Group.