Thursday, March 9, 2017

Ford Foundation's Darren Walker: Generosity Generation

Darren Walker, president of Ford Foundation, was in Los Angeles recently to hold a public conversation with Michael Govan, CEO and Wallis Annenberg Director of LA County Art Museum.

Sadly (to those of us working in the arts) they didn't speak about funding for the arts which are (once again)  facing a dismal, dare I say bleak, future with the folks in DC wanting to axe the NEA.

According to Walker, Ford doesn't have programming strength in the arts, health and even education and will not provide grants in this area. Ford seeks to promote its comparative advantage   in the "realm" of social justice with its fully focus on challenging inequality.

What he did emphasize was that he wants people to be more generous, not in that altruistic way. People need to give until the situation changes, not just when the nachas (prideful pleasure) overflows into the ego.

I couldn't agree more. 

When even the most seemingly unimportant situation has a profound blockage that cannot be penetrated, I will often query my inner HB as to whether someone is not being generous. It usually informs the situation.

Your humble Holy Beggar has discussed this in the past, but a refresher is always appropriate. According to Maimonides, the next to the highest form of charity is when the donor and recipient are unknown to each other. The highest form is that support provided until the recipient can move ahead on his/her own. (Note: Most institutional funders are not willing to support a project until the recipient is fully self-sustaining.)

Walker also wants the Foundation be a catalyst (my word) to reverse hopelessness and find ways to enliven, revitalize, kick-start (my words) a situation and let it flourish towards sustainability. He supports the notion that eccentric, even avant garde world views can and must dislodge the legacy of status quo if there is to be change.


Thank you, LACMA, for hosting this conversation.

And Remember ...

No matter what ...

Don’t forget to ASK FOR THE MONEY!


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