Equals Change Blog

Education and Youth

Darren, Walker, New York 2014-2015. Photo Credit: Simon Luethi ©Ford Foundation.

, President

My American Dream Score is 67. What’s yours?

Earlier this summer, the Ford Foundation launched an interactive tool called Your American Dream Score, which aims to help each of us examine the factors that have helped us succeed or held us back, and to start conversations about the role of inequality and opportunity in our lives.

Hilary, Pennington, New York 2014-2015. Photo Credit: Simon Luethi ©Ford Foundation.

, Vice President, Education, Creativity, and Free Expression

What happened to the American Dream? Q&A with "Happiness for All" author Carol Graham

The “American Dream”—one of the country’s most foundational principles—has long made a simple promise: Hard work leads to success. But what happens when large swaths of American society don’t buy into it?

Darren, Walker, New York 2014-2015. Photo Credit: Simon Luethi ©Ford Foundation.

, President

My message to graduates: With freedom comes responsibility

Darren Walker reflects on four of his commencement speeches, addressing how around the world, democracy and democratic values are under siege, and our responsibilities to protect democracy. 

Douglas, Wood, New York 2014-2015. Photo Credit: Simon Luethi ©Ford Foundation.

, Program Officer, Youth Opportunity and Learning

Why education in prison matters to democracy

Despite similar crime rates, the US incarceration rate is more than five times that of comparable countries. Out of every 100,000 Americans, 693 are in prison—a number that has multiplied in the past four decades.

Kamilah Duggins William, Kelley, New York 2014-2015. Photo Credit: Simon Luethi ©Ford Foundation.

Kamilah Duggins, Talent Acquisition Manager

, Talent Acquisition Director

Why the Ford Foundation launched a program for formerly incarcerated people—and how we did it

In 2015, the Ford Foundation decided to "walk our talk" and start a professional development program for formerly incarcerated people. Our HR department explains what the process was like. 

Amy, Brown, New York 2014-2015. Photo Credit: Simon Luethi ©Ford Foundation. Sanjiv, Rao, New York 2014-2015. Photo Credit: Simon Luethi ©Ford Foundation. Wilneida Negron. New York. 2017. Photo credit: Simon Luethi ©Ford Foundation. Noorain Khan, New York 2016. Photo Credit: Simon Luethi ©Ford Foundation.

, Senior Program Officer, Civic Engagement and Government

, Senior Program Officer, Youth Opportunity and Learning

, Technology Fellow, Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Justice

, Program Officer, Office of the President

What’s your American Dream Score?

Your American Dream Score aims to help us examine the many experiences, systems, and institutions that have helped—or hindered—our path to where we are today, and to jump-start honest discussions about the role of inequality and opportunity in our lives.

Lavar Gibson

Lavar Gibson, Associate

Joi Ito and Jeff Howe’s new rules for our faster, tech-driven world

In their new book, Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future, MIT Media Lab director Joi Ito and journalist and MIT visiting scholar Jeff Howe lay out new “rules” for surviving and advancing in this age of rapid technological change.

Noha, El-Mikawy, New York 2014-2015. Photo Credit: Simon Luethi ©Ford Foundation.

, Director, Middle East and North Africa

An influx of refugees brings not only challenges, but opportunities

The global refugee crisis poses a range of challenges to host countries but also economic and cultural opportunities. Policy solutions that ensure refugees’ dignity and help build their skills, talents, and assets will ensure that migrants can live full lives and contribute to their new communities.

Cara Mertes

, Director, JustFilms, Creativity and Free Expression

Sundance 2017: Celebrating films that help us understand today’s world

JustFilms, part of Ford’s Creativity and Free Expression program, is a longtime partner of the Sundance Institute and supported seven films in 2017.

Elizabeth Alexander. New York. 2015. (c) Ford Foundation

, Director, Creativity and Free Expression

Anna Deavere Smith on the school-to-prison pipeline and the need for empathy in education

The Ford Foundation's Elizabeth Alexander speaks with actress and playwright Anna Deavere Smith about Smith's new play, Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education, examining the school-to-prison pipeline.

Tony Sheldon

Tony Sheldon, Executive Director, Program on Social Enterprise at the Yale School of Management

Graduation case studies: An opportunity to learn & scale up

CGAP and the Ford Foundation commissioned case studies in Colombia, Peru, Ethiopia, and India exploring the Graduation Approach.

Douglas, Wood, New York 2014-2015. Photo Credit: Simon Luethi ©Ford Foundation.

, Program Officer, Youth Opportunity and Learning

“Pushout” author Monique Morris on what’s driving the criminalization of black girls in America

Stereotypes and stigma make black female students vulnerable to mistreatment and criminalization in school.

Eryn, Loeb, New York 2014-2015. Photo Credit: Simon Luethi ©Ford Foundation.

Eryn Loeb, Editor

"America Divided": Putting a spotlight on inequality

America Divided, a new documentary series from EPIX, explores narratives around inequality in education, housing, healthcare, labor, criminal justice and the political system.

Chi-Hui Yang. 2016. Photo credit: Simon Luethi

, Program Officer, JustFilms, Creativity and Free Expression

Criminalizing students of color, immigration reform, and the opioid epidemic: Recapping “America Divided,” episode 3

The Ford Foundation recaps episode 3 of America Divided, a docu-series about rising inequality in the United States.

Andrew, Catauro, New York. 2015. Photo credit: Simon Luethi ©Ford Foundation.

, Manager, JustFilms

Segregation in housing and education, and moving forward in Flint: Recapping “America Divided,” episode 2

The Ford Foundation recaps episode 2 of America Divided, a docu-series about rising inequality in the United States.

Rachel Wimpee

Rachel Wimpee, Ford Foundation Historian and Project Director

A brief history of Ford Foundation's support for scholarships and fellowships

The Ford Foundation has a rich history of supporting scholarships and fellowships that have a focus on social justice, including our International Fellowships Program.

Michael Clemens

Michael Clemens, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development

Why today’s migration crisis is an issue of global economic inequality

The global inequality of opportunity is what's driving the current migration crisis.

Natasha Sharma

Natasha Sharma, Intern, Ford Foundation

Why paid internships are important for first generation students

In a world where building connections is everything, paid internships offer young people of all different economic and social classes the opportunity to prepare for the future without having to sacrifice financial stability.

Emily Akpan, Ford Foundation summer 2016 intern

Emily Akpan, Intern, Ford Foundation

Ford Foundation interns weigh in

Ford Foundation interns weigh in on President Darren Walker's New York Times op-ed "Why Internships Are Not a Privilege."

Victor Tavarez, Ford Foundation intern

Victor Tavarez, Intern, Ford Foundation

Getting unstuck: Why internships matter

Internships help disadvantaged students tap into the advantages that so many of their peers already have.

Ekanem, Williams, New York 2014-2015. Photo Credit: Simon Luethi ©Ford Foundation.

, Program Officer

How child marriage exacerbates Africa’s HIV/AIDS epidemic

There is a close link between child marriage and the spread of HIV/AIDS in Africa. Yet the interventions designed to respond to these two issues are often not integrated. 

Hilary, Pennington, New York 2014-2015. Photo Credit: Simon Luethi ©Ford Foundation.

, Vice President, Education, Creativity, and Free Expression

Rethinking scholarships as a force for social justice

Unlike traditional scholarships based primarily on academic achievement, social justice fellowships use non-traditional ways to recruit talented individuals and extend higher education opportunities to leaders from marginalized communities.

Frederick, Frelow, New York 2014-2015. Photo Credit: Simon Luethi ©Ford Foundation.

, Senior Program Officer, Youth Opportunity and Learning

We need to help struggling students, not push them out of school

New York City school suspensions are down by one third, great news for students, parents, and "restorative justice".

Eric, Ward, New York 2014-2015. Photo Credit: Simon Luethi ©Ford Foundation.

, Program Officer, Gender, Racial, and Ethnic Justice

How can we fight Islamophobia in America?

With increasing xenophobic political rhetoric and brazen incidents of violence against American Muslim, South Asian, and Arab communities, the Ford Foundation hosted a dialogue with leaders to strategize ways to advance inclusion. Here are the highlights from the discussion.

Nicolette, Naylor, New York 2014-2015. Photo Credit: Simon Luethi ©Ford Foundation.

, Director, Southern Africa

Storytellers are change makers

 If we’re going to speak about the power of storytelling then I guess I should tell a story—or rather, my story.

Cara Mertes

, Director, JustFilms, Creativity and Free Expression

The extraordinary Grace Lee Boggs

Remembering the extraordinary Grace Lee Boggs.

Douglas, Wood, New York 2014-2015. Photo Credit: Simon Luethi ©Ford Foundation.

, Program Officer, Youth Opportunity and Learning

Financial aid just got easier for millions of students

President Obama announced a major improvement to the federal student aid application process, making it easier for students to tap into needed Pell Grants and other college aid. 

Eryn, Loeb, New York 2014-2015. Photo Credit: Simon Luethi ©Ford Foundation.

Eryn Loeb, Editor

Connecting the dots on voting rights and education

Education and voting are fundamental rights, and they’re also essential opportunities. So when a federal appeals panel ruled against a strict voter ID law in Texas this week—deeming it discriminatory and in violation of the Voting Rights Act—it was an encouraging sign. It was also evidence that there’s still a serious need for our 50-year-old civil rights law. And that disenfranchisement doesn’t exist in a vacuum.

Douglas, Wood, New York 2014-2015. Photo Credit: Simon Luethi ©Ford Foundation.

, Program Officer, Youth Opportunity and Learning

Opportunity and dignity for incarcerated Americans

People incarcerated in federal and state prisons will be eligible to receive federal aid to take the college courses that will prepare them to be thoughtful, responsible, engaged members of their communities—and help keep them from returning to prison.

Holly Fetter. Photo Credit: Stanford University Haas Center for Public Service.

Holly Fetter, Stanford University Tom Ford Fellow in Philanthropy

The new student power

Our support for the student power model and its movements is an investment in the future of social change.

Louis, Bickford, New York 2014-2015. Photo Credit: Simon Luethi ©Ford Foundation.

, Program Officer, Civic Engagement and Government

Where global meets local: Realizing human rights on the ground

Supporting INGOs that are based in the Global South, the Ford Foundation can contribute further to the realization of rights.

Darren, Walker, New York 2014-2015. Photo Credit: Simon Luethi ©Ford Foundation.

, President

The bridges we cross

Darren addresses three graduating classes at three commencement ceremonies.

Amy, Brown, New York 2014-2015. Photo Credit: Simon Luethi ©Ford Foundation.

, Senior Program Officer, Civic Engagement and Government

Student debt and social justice: Five things you should know

Program officer Amy Brown shares five things you should know about student debt and social justice.

Douglas, Wood, New York 2014-2015. Photo Credit: Simon Luethi ©Ford Foundation.

, Program Officer, Youth Opportunity and Learning

How prison education can transform lives and renew communities

Prison education can have a transformative affect on incarcerated people.

Eryn, Loeb, New York 2014-2015. Photo Credit: Simon Luethi ©Ford Foundation.

Eryn Loeb, Editor

The Bard Prison Initiative: Bringing hope to a broken system

Learn how Max Kenner, founder of the Bard Prison Initiative, is trying to fix a broken prison system.