Make That $2 Billion: Ford Ups Equity Funding

The second edition of the Ford Foundation’s Building Institutions and Networks (BUILD) initiative will starting in January disburse another $1 billion in five-year grants to organizations led by people of color and women.

The 2015 BUILD initiative already has provided $1 billion in flexible funding to social justice organizations to help them “more effectively achieve their core goals and build resilience for the long term,” including five-year commitments of general operating support.

“Our transformative BUILD initiative has been instrumental in giving grantees the ability to quickly adapt to unforeseen challenges, which became more important than ever this past year,” Ford Foundation Executive Vice President for Programs Hilary Pennington said via a statement. “We will continue to work in lockstep with our partners by giving them the resources and the flexibility they need to carry out their important work, without the burden of restrictive frameworks that may limit their capacity to make real change in times of need,” she said.

BUILD grants have been awarded to almost 350 organizations since the initiative launched. More than half of those grants concentrate in the Global South, according to data from the foundation, and more than 60% of organizations that received the grants are led by women.

Support from the BUILD program helped transform Alliance for Safety and Justice, President and CEO Lenore Anderson said, from “an idea to a high-impact institution with real staying power.”

In March, the New York-based Ford Foundation joined 800 other grant-giving entities in signing the philanthropy pledge, to provide grantees with the flexibility to respond quickly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The foundation plans to sell $1 billion in taxable social bonds, along with four other foundations, to increase combined giving more than $1.7 billion over the next three years.

For more information and progress about the BUILD program, Ford Foundation has issued the BUILD Evaluation’s interim report.