All You Need to Know About the Ford Foundation Grants, Fellowships and Internships

Publish Date: Jun 23, 2021

Ford Foundation | Grants and Fellowships

Ford Foundation works toward creating the world majority of us dream about. The organization works with a vision of Social Justice, where all humans have equal rights and opportunities for self-expression. 

The Foundation supports programs which in their turn, enhance the protection of human rights for all communities. Also, Ford Foundation supports people to unlock their full potential by eliminating obstacles like unequal access to knowledge, wealth, and other necessary resources. 

How Ford Foundation commits to its vision? 

  • Investment in passionate individuals. Ford Foundation supports leadership development in individuals with the highest motivations to improve and reach their goals. Individual applicants can participate in exchange programs, scholarships, professional training, etc. 

  • Building Institutions. Ford Foundation has already supported construction processes for many organizational buildings, which by any means commit to positive social changes. 

  • Support of valuable ideas. The Foundation stands behind worthy ideas and enhances them to flourish. The funding projects include public media, women's rights, digital human rights, and similar. 

Is the Ford Foundation related to the Ford Motor Company?

Currently, there is no interrelation between the Ford Foundation and Ford Motor Company. The two organizations are separate and legally unrelated entities within the previous 50 years. Decision-making about separate funding projects is conducted solely by the Ford Foundation board of trustees.

However, the family of Henry Ford stands in the origins of the Foundation. It was established by Henry Ford's eldest son Edsel Ford in 1936. Back then, the Foundation had only 25,000$ sum as an initial gift. Currently, that fundraised to 14 bln. $ endowment. 

The philosophy and mission of the Ford Foundation were similar from the very beginning of its operation. It operated for scientific, educational, and charitable purposes and was managed by the Ford family members. 

Later, in the mid-1940s, the management of the Foundation laid on the shoulders of Henry's grandson Henry II. Until 1976, he was responsible for the Foundation's operations, which had plans to grow to an international charity foundation dedicated to the enhancement of human welfare. 

The prominent steps in transforming to the Ford Foundation today were made after the retirement of Henry II. Then, the Foundation physically moved to New York and started a new era of supporting social equality for all humans. It's currently governed by 16 members of the board of trustees.

The Ford Global Fellowship

Do you want to stand in the same line as Condolezza Rice, Katherine Anna Porter, and other notable leaders in different spheres? Apply to the same Fellowship that once enhanced their roads to success.

The Fellowship is an 18-months program designed for anyone busy in any sphere who has a clear vision of how they will fight social injustice. In 2021, the Fellowship will host 24 fellows from 4 locations, including Brazil, East Africa, Middle East, and North Africa, and the US. Each selected fellow receives a 25,000$ stipend.

The fellows from the following countries are eligible for the Fellowship, though not each region might be involved each year.

  • US
  • Brazil
  • Andean Region
  • Mexico and Central America
  • Eastern Africa
  • West Africa
  • Southern Africa
  • The Middle East and North Africa
  • India
  • Sri Lanka and Nepal
  • Indonesia
  • China

Through its continuous operations, in the following decades, the program aims to create a robust network of 240 social justice leaders worldwide.

What you need to apply

A critical vision for the Ford Foundation, as mentioned above, is excluding any discrimination and granting humans equal opportunities to develop their initiative. Therefore, there are no exact requirements on the educational background or work sphere of the ideal candidate. 

Still, candidates must be above 18, and they should not be candidates for political office elected by a partisan selection. Also, as the Fellowship is fully in English, consider that at least basic conversational English will be required.

Further, the candidates pass through the main four stages to become Global Ford Fellows. Those stages include the following.

  • Nomination is the first pre-selection stage for the potential fellows. According to the predefined characteristics, nominators, who are the trusted bodies of the Fellowship team and regional offices, identify and nominate prospective nominees. Only nominees, which are nominated are eligible to apply. Often, nominees do not know that they are nominated. 

  • The application phase is for those only who received the approval in the nomination stage and were contacted and invited to complete the application. The details of applying will be provided by then.

  • Regional Interview is a virtual-format conversation with candidates whom regional offices of the Fellowship approved at the application screening stage.

  • Global Interview is the final and the most profound stage, where each participant should submit two references along with participating in a global virtual interview. 

Should you need some more details on the Global Ford Foundation, visit the website's dedicated section.

Ford Foundation Grants

The purpose of the Ford Foundation is the same for all the programs. However, the style and structure of funding programs differ. Therefore, if you do not correspond to the Ford Fellowships for any reason, the Foundation's grants are an alternative option to make your voice heard. 

It's pretty straightforward to apply

Now, you will be surprised. The lengthy and difficult application processes that are common for many grant programs do not have a place in the Ford Foundation Grant application process. 

You would need to fill in some basic personal details, such as name, phone number, email, etc. Later, you have two questions to answer. 

Here, it comes easy, yet challenging. You have options of two letters to make the reviewer's team engaged with your idea for finding the social inequality and make them believe you can perform a change. The team of reviewers have 45 days for answering your proposal, if they find the idea worth exploring further. 

Therefore, put a lot of effort and great attention while you describe your idea in two steps. Firstly, you should submit how would you describe your idea to someone in less than 30 seconds. Later, you should introduce your idea in a larger, 2000-word proposal. 

The form for the application is ready for you to start.

What should I do to qualify for grants?

Fighting for social equality is your key to opening any of the Ford Foundation's doors. If you have an idea you believe can play a crucial role in this regard, you are more than welcomed to apply. 

To be more specific on what spheres are, after all, more encouraged by the Foundation, here are the three main directions that Grants supported before. 

  1. Ford Foundation gives grants to build special institutions that will serve humanitarian purposes, such as Human Rights Watch, South Africa'S Legal Resources Center, etc. 

  2. Any new movement or idea that can contribute to community development, legal services for the poor, public broadcasting, and similar are considered a worthy idea for the Foundation.

  3. Lastly, the Foundation funds outstanding individuals whose breakthroughs in their fields reached global appreciation like Nobel Prizes. The grantees of the Foundation were people like Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, and others. 

To have more insights on what the Foundation did prior, you might visit the database of the issued grants

Ford Foundation Internship Program

The Internship at Ford Foundation will provide you with a $23/hour salary and an unforgettable summer full of learning. The initiative is designed to support intern's skills for working in charity and philanthropy organizations and generally enhance their skills for performing in professional communities. 

What do interns do during the Internship?

Interns spend ten weeks (first week of June - second week of August) in the Ford Foundation's NYC office. The responsibilities and main activities of each intern differ based on what team or department they belong to. The main breakdown of the intern's responsibilities include the following:

  • Perform administrative, analytical, research tasks to support ongoing projects

  • Attend events for the staff and participate in weekly learning sessions designed only for interns

Eligibility for the Internship

The Internship is designed for permanent residents of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. They also should be full-time rising junior or senior undergraduates who receive need-based financial aid and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. It's also essential to adapt your summer schedule for the Internship, as interns should be available for the full duration of the program. 

To apply

The official application guideline is available on the Internship's official page once the application is open. Track the link for future updates and refer to the Internship FAQ section for other details. 

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