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Global Perspectives with Darren Walker

Dallas Fed

Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, discusses lessons of leadership, the creation of the Ford Foundation and the function of philanthropy in society.


About Darren Walker

Walker is president of the Ford Foundation, an international social justice philanthropy with a $13 billion endowment and $600 million in annual grant making. He chaired the philanthropy committee that brought a resolution to the city of Detroit’s historic bankruptcy and is co-founder and chair of the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance.

Before joining Ford, Walker was vice president at the Rockefeller Foundation, leading global and domestic programs that included the Rebuild New Orleans initiative after Hurricane Katrina. In the 1990s, he was chief operating officer of Abyssinian Development Corporation, Harlem’s largest community development organization. In that role, he oversaw a comprehensive revitalization strategy that brought affordable housing and commercial developments to the New York City neighborhood. Earlier, he had a decade-long career in international law and finance at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and UBS. 

Walker co-chairs the NYC Commission on Monuments and Memorials and serves on the Rikers Island Commission and the International Labor Organization’s Global Commission on the Future of Work. He also sits on the boards of Carnegie Hall, New York’s High Line park and PepsiCo. Walker is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He received the Du Bois Medal from Harvard University, its highest honor in the field of African and African-American studies. He has been included on numerous annual media lists, including Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.

Walker graduated from the University of Texas at Austin and is a recipient of the school’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.