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The Ford Foundation end fellowship program

The Ford Foundation is ending its fellowship program after investing nearly $1 billion to support higher education and increase racial diversity within program.

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The Ford Foundation is ending its fellowship program sought to increase racial diversity among graduate students and postgraduate students in the program. 

For Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, “this was a painful sacrifice, but a necessary one.” 

“We understand and respect that some may disagree with our judgment. To be clear, no one is declaring victory for diversity and equity in higher education—not in the United States, not around the world. The academy neither fairly reflects the former nor fully embodies the latter. Clearly, we must hold higher-education institutions accountable for the persistent lack of diversity in tenured and leadership positions, despite a robust pipeline of diverse, talented scholars,” he continued in an announcement published last September 16.

The foundation has supported more than 6,000 scholars since 1967, investing nearly $1 billion to support higher education, as stated by Walker. Many of the expenses like tuition, stipends, conferences, were covered by the foundation where applicable— providing opportunities for networking and professionalization opportunities. 

The end of this program does present many uncertainties for professionals including Dreamers, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients, who were excluded from other programs because of their U.S legal status. “The Ford Foundation’s decision to end fellowships coincides with the end of some similar programs funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation: the International Dissertation Research Fellowship Competition, which supports 60 fellows annually by the Social Science Research Council, and the American Council of Learned Societies’ dissertation completion fellowships,” as reported by Inside Higher ED.

“Thanks in large part to our extraordinary community of Ford Fellows—through their scholarship and mentorship—we see the seeds of change taking root, and a new ecosystem of support emerging around them. For us, therefore, the time has come to adapt and evolve—to recenter our support for a new generation of individuals, ideas, and institutions that are leading the way forward from inequality to justice,” concluded Walker.
 

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