Learning and Impact

Inequality is a complicated problem, one that is deeply embedded in society. It is reinforced by policies and practices, as well as through beliefs and values—structurally and systemically. The roots of inequality go back generations, if not centuries.

Disrupting structural inequality takes time, and a variety of approaches and interventions: Think of the hard-won, yet incomplete, achievements of the civil rights, women’s, LGBT, and anti-apartheid movements. No one intervention or organization—or any one funder—is likely to cause a shift on its own.

All of this means that assessing the impact of our work is complicated, and requires a nuanced understanding of what it takes to make a difference. And it is why the Ford Foundation established an Office of Strategy and Learning—which is committed to ensuring that our efforts to disrupt inequality are impactful, as a result of assessment and applying what we learn along the way.

Why we learn

Learning helps us advance our mission. Through learning, we can:

  • Better understand how complex social change happens, and the role we can play in supporting it
  • Design and implement more effective program strategies
  • Challenge our assumptions by engaging with a range of perspectives

How we learn