Hilary Pennington profiled in Crain's

Crain’s New York Business profiles Hilary Pennington, the foundation’s vice president of Education, Creativity, and Free Expression. “I have an acute sense that you can be born with privileges that you don’t deserve,” Hilary says, explaining the roots of her commitment to social justice—and how the funding for education, arts, and media she oversees can foster the movements that create social change.

Published in Crain’s New York Business | July 3, 2014
Ford Foundation exec develops young minds


Hilary Pennington was so shocked when Ford Foundation President Darren Walker called her about filling the role he once had that she locked herself out of her car and had to call a locksmith. Scores had lobbied to become the $12 billion foundation’s vice president of the Education, Creativity and Free Expression program. Ms. Pennington, 58, was not among them.

“Darren said I was the one person who didn’t call him,” said Ms. Pennington, who started in October.

She has worked in education for most of her career and shares the foundation’s dedication to social justice. As a child, she spent time in her father’s home country of South Africa, where she witnessed apartheid. And she saw her mother carve an education path for her sister, who has serious learning issues.

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The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 75 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.