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Keeping Tabs on the Ford Foundation
Last week’s article, Ford Foundation Shuts Down Fellowship Program — which was featured on RealClearPolicy — was breaking news. I hedged against the uncertainty at the time by writing, “People are confused, and nobody really knows what happened. I certainly don't know what happened. I will keep trying to get to the bottom of what drove this decision, but until then, consider this a short article simply to break the news.”
I am still trying to figure out why the Ford Foundation suspiciously, abruptly, and unceremoniously put the kibosh on their flagship program. I haven’t figured it out yet, but I am starting to put some puzzle pieces together.
Here is the latest development: Fordies are planning to register a newly formed charity to ”keep [the Fordie] network and mission formally recognized as academics for diversity, equity, and inclusion” and “to recreate the organizing board with current members.”
This new charity won’t be affiliated with the Ford Foundation.
How do I know this? Well, I am privy to all their internal communications.
I happen to know, for instance, that a group calling themselves the “Society of Senior Ford Fellows” (a registered 501-c-3 non-profit) hosted a Zoom event a few days ago called “A Virtual Space to Reflect on the Ford Diversity Fellowship.”
Here is the leaked transcript from that meeting:
I already mentioned the biggest takeaway: they are forming a new charity that won’t be associated with the Ford Foundation.
The name being kicked around for this new charity is “The National Academy for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion”
They need “at least” 25 million USD…. they are planning to hit up Melinda Gates and MacKenzie Bezos.
I serve on the board of the Oracle Education Foundation and have done so for 30 years. I think we can use this group to develop a MULTIFOUNDATION proposal. Similar to PBS broadcasts. Such funding includes multiple sources of funding. There are alternative plans and because this is a multiyear wind down we have a chance to be creative and bring new approaches that also bring funding from our Universities.
— John Baugh, President of the Linguistic Society of America.
Some Fordies are planning to circulate a petition in an attempt to reverse the decision, but I don’t think that will amount to anything, and it doesn’t seem to be gaining much steam. The decision to shut down the program is final.
Some mused if Karlstack’s investigation played a role in their demise.
It seems like in recent years there was an influx of right wing infiltrators and reactionaries on the listserv, wondering if that attention has impacted this decision?"
— Amrah Salomón, Assistant Professor of English at the University of California Santa Barbara.
This feels deliberate and very political. I believe it is an attack on education access, diversity, and critical race theory, and I fear this attack is the tip of the iceberg… Curious what role (if any) [the Karlstack leak] played in this…
— Erin Cricket
They are angry at the leadership of the Ford Foundation.
I think it is worth collectively and publicly calling for the resignation of Darren Walker.
— Frank Leon Roberts, Assistant Professor of English at Amhert College
To be clear, Walker defended Warren Kanders who earned his wealth through a munitions company named SAFARILAND.
—Sandy Grande , professor of Political Science at the University of Connecticut
I don't see Ford being a good partner going forward, at least not with D. Walker as CEO.
— Carlos Garza
The board is the problem.
— Álvaro Huerta
How did we get a foundation board that doesn't value what Ford Fellows is and does? … It is clear that Darren is not Franklin. Ugh.
— Dr. Sonja Lanehart, professor of linguistics at the University of Arizona
This is the beginning of a broader effort to defund progressive social movements and social thought. We are canaries in the coal mine, so folks are watching to see how we respond to this.
— Orlando Lara
They are planning multiple op-eds.
They might even take out an ad in the New York Times "where we sign with our affiliations and titles to illustrate what has been achieved.”
Don’t forget op eds should mention Nikole Hannah Jones and 1619. And don’t forget we’re moving into a VERY ugly midterm election deadon!!
— Cyraina Johnson-Roullier, Associate Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame
Op-eds should highlight context: attack on “CRT”, attack on affirmative action; hostility towards educators, more generally.
— Tehama Bunyasi, Associate Professor at George Mason University
Agree that a well crafted op-ed will attract addition financial support.
— Cheryl Finley, Associate Professor of Art History at Cornell
One commenter on Ford Foundation Shuts Down Fellowship Program had a theory that the NYT article itself may have played a key role.
It never struck me before, but yeah… the timing is definitely weird… the NYT article was published on September 9th and the Fordie program was shut down on September 19th.
That’s kind of the point: Yes, I am just a random guy on the internet; and yet I am able to take on the Ford Foundation head-to-head because I have the truth on my side.
On the internet, nobody cares if you are just some guy… as long as you have the truth on your side.
Maybe if the Ford Foundation were a little more transparent in how they conducted business — a little more competent in their messaging — random guys like me wouldn’t have to speculate about their motives. They insist on operating in the shadows, though, so let’s speculate as to their shadowy motives.
Here is my (extremely biased) theory: my article Whistleblower emails reveal partisan rot at Ford Foundation, that gets "nonpartisan" tax perks resulted in future-Senator JD Vance attacking the Ford Foundation’s tax-exempt status on the #1 viewed show in America, and then my article That racist chick from ASU who went viral yesterday? She wasn't an undergrad... she was a Ford Fellow resulted in the New York Times running an embarrassing piece.
The combined weight of this FOX + NYT media onslaught was too much negative press for them to bear, so the Ford Foundation shut down their Fordie program in order to protect their $16 billion endowment.
Can I prove it? No. But nobody has any better theories, and nobody believes Darren Walker’s official narrative.
As luck would have it, the 2022 Society of Senior Ford Fellows Annual Gathering is in 2 weeks from now, on October 6th 2022. I’m 100% sure it will be a shitshow.
See you there, Fordies.