Small logo Subscribe to leading news on impact investing. Learn More
The Brief Originals Dealflow Signals The Impact Alpha Impact Voices Podcasts Agents of Impact Open
What's Next Capital on the Frontier Measure Better Investing in Racial Equity Beyond Trade-offs Impact en las Americas New Revivalists
Local and Inclusive Climate Finance Catalytic Capital Frontier Finance Best Practices Geographies
Slack Agent of Impact Calls Events Contribute
The Archive ImpactSpace The Accelerator Selection Tool Network Map
About Us FAQ Calendar Pricing and Payment Policy Privacy Policy Terms of Service Agreement Contact Us
Locavesting Entrepreneurship Gender Smart Return on Inclusion Good Jobs Creative economy Opportunity Zones Investing in place Housing New Schooled Well Being People on the Move Faith and investing Inclusive Fintech
Clean Energy Farmer Finance Soil Wealth Conservation Finance Financing Fish
Innovative Finance
Personal Finance Impact Management
Africa Asia Europe Latin America Middle East Oceania/Australia China Canada India United Kingdom United States
Subscribe Log In

Ford Foundation’s Darren Walker takes on opponents of impact investing — including his own trustees

Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, unloaded on philanthropies in general — and Ford’s own trustees.

Walker earlier this year carved out $1 billion (over 10 years) out of Ford’s $12 billion endowment for mission-related investments, or MRIs. At the GSG Impact Summit in Chicago, he shared some of the story of a journey he said ‘has been very challenging and uncomfortable for my trustees and my investment committee…who are very conservative.”

Trustees told him, “‘We are not doing this. We are not doing this,’” Walker said. Walker set up a parallel investment office because Ford’s investment officer declined to manage the MRIs. When Walker told his CIO he’d love him to become an impact investor, “He had an answer for me.”

Walker was even more critical of other foundations who have not yet committed any part of their endowments toward achieving their social missions, two years after the Treasury Department removed legal barriers to such a move. “Philanthropy for the most part has shrugged its shoulders, with the same tired rhetoric about what we’re doing to change the world, without actually changing our own behavior,” Walker said.

He hopes the performance of the new investment program will spur more foundations to point their endowments toward impact. “I am confident that we are going to make money,” he said. “I am also confident that we are going to get better at measuring for social impact.”

You might also like...