Ok, I’ll admit it. I follow him on Twitter. Am subscribed to his YouTube channel and generally devour his writings. His book, From Generosity to Justice: A New Gospel of Wealth is in the queue. I am a Darren Walker groupie. Here’s why.
As you likely know, Walker is President of the Ford Foundation, the country’s second-largest foundation when ranked by its $11 billion in assets. He describes his work at the Ford Foundation as, “lifting up those people who often feel invisible, left out and left behind by society.”
Lately, Walker is using far more than the Foundation’s money to advance social change, he is also using his voice to ask some challenging questions about philanthropy. If the rules of philanthropy are changing, Darren Walker is one of the reasons why.
He notes that there was a time in our country when it was common, “You could do bad things to amass wealth and then give back and that was your pittance. I don’t think today that’s enough. Today, wealthy people, entrepreneurs, captains of industry are now under a kind of scrutiny that they were not during Carnegie and Rockefeller’s day and I think that’s a good thing.”
Walker’s book seeks to disrupt philanthropy and make us all a bit uncomfortable. In an interview on Amanpour & Co, he says, “Rather than giving money to a homeless shelter, we have to ask ourselves, why is their homelessness in the richest nation in the world?” After more than 30 years in the fundraising profession, these are the kind of questions that resonate with me.
You can watch the full interview on Amanpour & Co here.
If you would like to join the Darren Walker fan club, you can follow him on Twitter @darrenwalker. And if you read the book and want to chat about it, let’s have coffee!
-By Kathy Swayze