A look at the Ford Foundation’s new FordForward Strategy

I’ve been curious about the Ford Foundation’s new organizational strategy, FordForward. The Ford Foundation is changing how they do their work and shifting their focus to the addressing inequity.  The Ford Foundation has supported shared spaces in the past and their support for arts-based nonprofit centers looks to be in doubt for the future, but their pronouncements have even broader implications for our field.

As noted in a recent NY Times article, many foundations have recently announced new strategies such as focusing on the theme of resilience, climate change or other “big bets” as William Foster of the Bridgespan Group details in his recent article in the Stanford Social Innovation Review:

I think this latest surge of information about philanthropic direction is important for our work in shared spaces.  The focus of national foundations may influence the work of local foundations in our communities.  I think the areas foundations are moving into also dovetail with the goals of most of our centers.  We address inequality by creating space for a multitude of users, providing access to smaller nonprofits and the people they serve who might not otherwise have a “seat at the table”.  We are building resilient communities by driving economic growth at our centers and providing one-stop hubs so that residents can better access services.  And each of our centers is, in effect, a big bet for a community or an issue-area.

Nonprofit shared space centers have a lot of opportunities in this new philanthropic order, to better explain the impact they have in their communities and I’m excited to see how this work unfolds.

What do you see for nonprofit shared space centers in the future?  Share your thoughts with us.




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