The Ford Foundation is one of the largest charitable organizations ever established in the United States. Chartered in Michigan in 1936 by auto manufacturers Edsel Ford and two of his corporate executives, the primary purpose of the foundation was to contribute to causes in the Michigan area in which they operated factories. Designated as a separate entity from the Ford Motor Company, though maintaining stock in the auto company until 1956, it was a private venture for the auto makers with a comprehensive mission of promoting democracy, social and economic justice, and international cooperation. They have also stated a specific mission of promoting education and human achievement.
In the early stages of development the Ford Foundation was operated primarily by family members. Created in 1936 in the midst of the Great Depression, the local community was suffering along with the rest of the nation. Until the death of Edsel Ford in 1943 the mission statement was consistent. In 1947, after the death of Edsel's brother Henry Ford, the foundation headed by Henry Ford II commissioned a study that re-evaluated the goals of the non-profit business. This resulted in the Gaither Report in 1950 and changed the direction of the Ford Foundation, as the report suggested that a foundation as large as the Ford Foundation should invest internationally in issues that affect the global community as well as local.
Since that decision the impact of the Ford Foundation on international affairs is almost incalculable. The grant program diversified and was regularly involved with initiatives that often appear as though they were recommended by the U.S. State Department and may have. The foundation is known to have a common working relationship with the U.S. government in the advancement of democracy worldwide. They have also instituted the IFP, or International Fellowship Program, around the world. The IFP is a primary informational and influential study group for the Ford Foundation and allows for their complete global presence.
In addition to providing a publication format for the group fellows at the foundation, they have also been central in the development of the public broadcasting format and children's educational programming. In as much as the Ford Foundation has made great contributions to society since its beginning, it has not been without its critics. Henry Ford II left the board in the 1970s and the Ford Foundation has since been that in name only, generally. This also coincides with a reassessed priority of some of the causes they decide to fund. The missions of social justice and peace are often prioritized by regional conflict.
The Ford Foundation ranked for many years as the largest charitable foundation in the U.S. They currently do not hold the top position, but are still one of the five largest in the world. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is the largest at this time and may be for many years to come. The primary mission of the Gates Foundation is the elimination of AIDS. This adjustment in ranking does little to impede the Ford Foundation from directing its attention and money to other regions of the world, in particular the Middle East.
Currently locked in an argument about the future status of foundation grants in the region, the Ford Foundation has been accused of funding NGOs that have shown an agenda of anti-Semitism as part of the establishment of the New Israel Fund to which they have made huge grants since 2003. There have recently been reports that they would cease the contributions to the agency, but later denied the report.
The Ford Foundation has also issued multiple large grants recently to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the International Planned Parenthood Foundation. The Ford Foundation has been the target of criticism from both liberal and conservative sides for its apparent cherry-picking of issues and causes, along with the idea that the perceived mission may be cover for a subversive objective disguised as humanitarianism.
Ultimately, conspiratorial critics of the Ford Foundation may have it partially correct. The Ford Foundation seems to have been co-opted by those groups that seek world government at any cost and are willing to pre-empt monetary resources whenever possible to achieve this goal. The Ford Foundation's apparent takeover may have been completed in the 1950s and 1960s. A look at its agenda since then reveals that it supports virtually all the programmatic elements of the United Nations and other one-world resources. Whatever Edsel had planned for his foundation is no more.