The Ford Foundation focuses its philanthropy on ending all forms of inequality. At the beginning of 2016, the Ford Foundation continues the fight against inequality with a revamped agenda and a partnership with the Cannes Film Festival.
Two years ago, the Ford Foundation sponsored 35 different initiatives. To better focus on inequality, this has been reduced to 15 in the following seven categories:
- Civic Engagement and Government
- Free Expression and Creativity
- Equitable Development
- Gender, Racial and Ethnic Justice
- Inclusive Economies
- Internet Freedom
- Youth Opportunity and Learning
Under Inclusive Economies are initiatives such as impact investing and economic security, while engaging government and equitable resources are listed under Civic Engagement and Government. The other five categories cover drives such as social justice storytelling, natural resources and climate change, rights of women and girls, digital rights and access and pathways to youth success.
Institution building is another key goal of the foundation. From 2016 to 2020, the Ford Foundation plans to invest $1 billion around the world to create a network of organizations against inequality. This initiative – called BUILD – is designed to magnify each institution’s impact by aligning their goals and bringing them together.
To bring the issue to the forefront and get the attention of the world’s creative leaders, on Feb. 2, 2016, the Ford Foundation announced a two-year partnership with the Cannes Film Festival through its JustFilms grants. Like BUILD, JustFilms creates a network against inequality, in this case, a network of documentarists, storytellers and independent filmmakers.
The 2016 Cannes Film Festival takes place from May 11 to May 22 and is the one of the world’s most prominent independent film festivals. In its partnership with JustFilms, Cannes Film Market will bring some of the most talented documentary makers from the global south to the event.
By bringing in filmmakers from a largely neglected region of the world, JustFilms hopes that they can connect these storytellers with the larger industry. Once connected, their stories and perspectives can spread around the globe and reach people in developed nations.
Cannes Film Market’s head of industry programming, Julie Bergeson, was grateful for the foundation’s contribution to fighting inequality. She said, “Ford has created an incredible legacy in tackling social injustice and inequality. Their efforts have lead to revealing insights and sometimes startling exposures from filmmakers around the world.”
In changing the focus of its grants, the Ford Foundation has highlighted inequality as one of the most pressing issues of the 21st century. In partnering with Cannes, they have taken a step to raise awareness by bringing forth perspectives from the developing world.
There is much more to be done but there is reason to hope. The fight to end inequality will be long but the Ford Foundation is fully committed.
– Dennis Sawyers