With $25,000 in seed money -- a gift from Henry Ford's son Edsel -- and a founding charter stating that its resources be used for "scientific, educational and charitable purposes for the public welfare," the Ford Foundation was born. In A Memoir of the Ford Foundation, Verne Atwater and Evelyn Walsh -- both members of the philanthropy's professional staff during its early days -- offer a detailed and lively, firsthand view of the Foundation's early years, from the formation of its unusually forward-looking policies to the key men and women responsible for carrying out its ambitious programs and awarding its groundbreaking grants. A pioneering intitiative that would go on to be emulated by many corporate grantmaking organizations, the Ford Foundation has proved itself over many years to be a phenomenal force for good in the world, its influence extending from humanitarian efforts to the arts. In the process, it has played a major role in the history of philanthropy iteself, never straying from its mandate to tap into all that is great about the American character. Infused with high hopes and positivity, the Foundation's programs have always endeavored to "enhance the prospects of peace and strengthen democracy, education, and economic development" in the United States and around the world. In compelling prose, A Memoir of The Ford Foundation recounts how the organization developed, adapted, and made the decisions that would shape and change society for the better, as they funded important projects worldwide. It is worthwhile reading for all who care deeply about philanthropy, civil and human rights, public policy advocacy, championing peace, and building human capital. The mission of the Ford Foundation to advance human welfare has, for half a century, been a constant beacon of purpose. The measurements of success have changed over time with programs to contribute to the prevention of war, to promote global economic development, to increase food production to forestall famine, and to revitalize the arts to enrich the quality of life. These programs were redirected in later years to include more women, minorities, and others outside the more traditional circles of influence. The Ford Foundation today remains the second largest in assets and third-largest in giving in the world.
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