• U.S.

Foundations: Being Big About It

2 minute read

What is the mighty Ford Foundation up to? Last week it reported that in fiscal 1962 it gave away $225.7 million—60% more than the year before. The giving was not in the style of lesser philanthropists: pinpoint aid to struggling causes. Ford is so big ($2.3 billion, book value) that it has developed a new style of giving. The foundation sustains entire school systems, universities and fields of study—the “critical” ideas and institutions that it deems worthy of continuous support. Not everyone agrees with all of its choices, concedes President Henry T. Heald, but “we do not read the concept of philanthropic neutrality to mean that foundations should not have a point of view.”

In 1962 Ford thus poured massive manna into everything from overseas development ($46 million) to U.S. education ($125.3 million). Sample fields of action:

BETTER TEACHING: $3,500,000 to reform teaching in all the public schools of Oregon; similar grants went to the schools of Newton, Mass., and Norwalk, Conn.

AIDING THE ARTS: $6,100,000 to nine repertory theaters from Manhattan to Los Angeles.

AIDING SCIENCE: $8,000,000 to increase the U.S. engineering faculty by one-third through loans to future engineering teachers, who do not have to repay the money if they stay in teaching.

HELPING CITIES: $13.5 million to aid cities across the U.S. in fighting everything from juvenile delinquency to youth unemployment.

ENCOURAGING SCHOLARSHIP: $14.5 million to the National Merit Scholarship Corp., $27.5 million to Woodrow Wilson fellowships for prospective college teachers.

PRIVATE EDUCATION: $47.6 million in no-strings matching grants to 22 private colleges and universities under a “challenge” program that now involves 35 campuses, will ultimately generate $391.7 million.

More Must-Reads from TIME

Contact us at letters@time.com