Remarks by Ford Foundation President Susan V. Berresford at USC's Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy

Remarks by Ford Foundation President Susan V. Berresford at USC's Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy

In remarks (6 pages, HTML) delivered in February at the University of Southern California's Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy, Ford Foundation president Susan V. Berresford used recent developments in the field of philanthropy, including the increased attention paid philanthropy by the media, decision-makers, and the public, as a point of departure to address several issues currently being debated within and about the philanthropic community. Using examples from Ford's experience in places like Bangladesh and Eastern Europe to illustrate the point that social progress is a messy process that can be difficult to measure and typically takes place over long periods of time, Berresford argued that the strength of philanthropy in the U.S. was in part a function of donors' right to choose and concluded her remarks by calling for the safeguarding of four fundamental freedoms: the freedom to create perpetual institutions whose assets work far into the future or to create self-liquidating short-term institutions; the freedom of those institutions to devote themselves to charity, to strategic policy change, or a combination of the two; the freedom to operate by strict outcome measurements or to apply trial-and-error methodologies with "patient" money; and the freedom to adopt appropriate cost structures.