Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ford Foundation's New Structure

Stephanie Strom reports today in the NY Times about the Ford Foundation's re-structuring.  A new president, Luis A. Ubinas (the n should have a tilde: ~) arrived two years ago, from McKinsey & Company, a top consulting firm.  Bringing strategic planning/consulting skills with him, Mr. Ubinas has led an internal examination of Ford's management structure.  The goal of the examination was to ensure that the Foundation's resources were aligned in the most effective way to carry out the Foundation's mission.  The result, according to the President's message posted on the Foundation's website, is a recommitment to the mission and the values of the Foundation and a new management structure based around eight significant social justice issues, each of which is grounded in the mission and history of the Foundation.  The new structure will reorganize individual initiatives, in the past numbering more than 200, into 35 "lines of work." A team of program managers will manage a group of lines and will report to a director responsible for that group.  The reorganization shifts from individual managers to a more team-oriented approach.  The Foundation's website provides the President's message about the "comprehensive set of new strategies," and also provides information about each of the eight issues around which the new strategies are organized.

Like many other foundations, Ford saw a 30% drop in its assets last year.  It raised $22 million for grants by cutting costs internally, and it expects to continue to cut costs where possible,with all savings devoted to grant-making.  The Foundation remains the second largest in the US, after the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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