Ford Foundation

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Group.png Ford Foundation  
(Company, Tax exempt foundationNNDB Sourcewatch WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
MottoWorking with Visionaries on the Frontlines of Social Change Worldwide
FounderEdsel Ford
LeaderFord Foundation/President
Interest ofBonnie Jenkins
Member ofFirst Draft
Founder ofBetter Than Cash Alliance
Sponsor ofPopulation Council, First Draft, Aspen Institute, Black Lives Matter, Democracy Now!, Amnesty International, ACLU, Tides Foundation, Institute for Security Studies, Australian National University, Humanity In Action, International Press Institute, Human Rights Watch, Partners In Health, Better Than Cash Alliance, PolitiFact, Reporters Without Borders, International Commission of Jurists, Sourcewatch, Electronic Privacy Information Center, Kaiser Family Foundation, Obama Foundation, Dangerous Speech Project, Center for American Progress, Internews, Institute for Policy Studies, Abt Associates, Albert Einstein Institution, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Atlantic Institute, ClimateWorks, The Nation, Article 19, American Committee on United Europe, Mother Jones, Center for Constitutional Rights, Quincy Institute, Forum on Information & Democracy
SubpageFord Foundation/President
In addition to its own billionaire agenda, also known to have been $$$ middleman for covert CIA funding.

The Ford Foundation was started by Edsel Ford in 1936. During the Cold War it was a CIA-cutout, to funnel cash to front groups, like NGOs and 'independent' media. Its present day function is most likely the same. From its very origins there was a close structural relation and inter-change of personnel at the highest levels between the CIA and the Ford Foundation.

Close collaboration with the CIA

The Ford Foundation is one of the most important “private foundations” collaborating with the CIA over a significant span of time in major projects in the cultural Cold War.

“At times it seemed as if the Ford Foundation was simply an extension of government in the area of international cultural propaganda. The foundation had a record of close involvement in covert actions in Europe, working closely with Marshall Plan and CIA officials on specific projects” [1]

Frances Stonor Saunders, a noted scholar of the Cold War writes: “At times it seemed as if the Ford Foundation was simply an extension of government in the area of international cultural propaganda. The foundation had a record of close involvement in covert actions in Europe, working closely with Marshall Plan and CIA officials on specific projects”. [2]

The leaders of the Foundation were in total agreement with Washington’s post-WWII projection of world domination, and they had over 3 billion in assets, a lot of money in 1950.

This is graphically illustrated by the naming of Richard Bissell as President of the Foundation in 1952. In his two years in office Bissell met often with the head of the CIA, Allen Dulles, and other CIA officials in a “mutual search” for new ideas. In 1954 Bissell left Ford to become a special assistant to Allen Dulles in January 1954.[3]

Under Bissell, Ford Foundation (FF) was the “vanguard of Cold War thinking”. One of the FF first Cold War project was the establishment of a publishing house, Inter-cultural Publications, and the publication of a magazine Perspectives in Europe in four languages. The FF purpose according to Bissell was not “so much to defeat the leftist intellectuals in dialectical combat (sic) as to lure them away from their positions”

The result of their collaboration was the proliferation of a number of journals and access to the mass media which pro-U.S. intellectuals used to launch vituperative polemics against Marxists and other anti-imperialists. The FF funding of these anti- Marxists organizations and intellectuals provided a legal cover for their claims of being “independent” of government funding (CIA).[4]

The foundation was also active in the warm-up to coup against the democratically elected president of Chile, Salvador Allende, in 1973.

Le Cercle

Ford donated £20,000 to Le Cercle in the 1970s, according to David Teachers book Rogue Agents.[5]


Related Quotations

Susan Berresford“The program we designed [the Ford Foundation International Fellowship Program], which we're funding to the tune of $300 million — the largest single grant in the history of the foundation — is just wrapping up its first year. Over the next ten years, it will support about thirty-five hundered people around the world for up to three years of graduate study. And we hope they will not only take advantage of this opportunity — paid in full, anywhere in the world — but that they will return to their home countries and begin to function effectively as leaders. Eventually, we think that out of this group will emerge some extraordinary world leaders — at least we hope so. We do need to be thinking consciously about where the next generation of world leaders is going to come from.”Susan Berresford28 May 2002
Foundation“"During the 1950s and 1960s, the CIA turned increasingly to covert action in the area of student and labor matters, cultural affairs, and community developments. ... The CIA subsidized, advised, and even helped develop "private" organizations that would compete with the communists around the world. ... [Many] were U.S.-based student, labor, cultural, or philanthropic organizations whose international activities the CIA subsidized. ...
 "The philanthropic [CIA] fronts used prior to 1967 funded a seemingly limitless range of covert action programs affecting youth groups, labor unions, universities, publishing houses, and other private institutions in the United States and abroad. ... Support [was provided to, for instance] an international organization of veterans and an international foundation for developing countries [as well as] an organization of journalists and an international women's association. ... Agency funds were used to host foreign visitors [and] provide scholarships to an international cooperative training center at a United States university... The CIA assisted in the establishment in 1951 and the funding for over a decade of a research institute at a major American university. ...
 "By 1967, when public disclosure of NSA [National Student Association]'s funding ... caused a major curtailment of these activities, interest in the major covert action efforts in these areas was already waning.
 "There appear to be two reasons for this. First, there was considerable skepticism within the CIA as to the effectiveness of this approach. ... Richard Helms [explained], "The clandestine operator ... is trained to believe that you really can't count on the honesty of your agent to do exactly what you want or to report accurately unless you own him body and soul."
 "Second, it became increasingly difficult to conceal the CIA funds that supported these activities as the scale of the operations grew. By fiscal year 1967, for example, over $3 million [$22.5 million in 2018] was budgeted for youth and student programs and $6 million [$45 million in 2018] for labor. Most of the funds were transmitted through legitimate or "devised" foundations — that is, fictitious entities established by the CIA.
 "The use of philanthropic organizations was a convenient way to pass funds, in that large amounts could be transferred rapidly, and in a form that need not alert unwitting officers of the recipient organizations to their source. In addition, foundation grants bestowed upon the recipient the apparent "blessing" of the foundation. The funding pattern involved a mixture of bona fide charitable foundations, devised foundations and funds, [CIA] "front men" drawn from a list of America's most prominent citizens, and lawyers representing undisclosed clients.
 "The CIA's intrusion into the foundation field in the 1960s can only be described as massive. Excluding grants from the "Big Three" — Ford, Rockefeller, and Carnegie — of the 700 grants over $10,000 given by 164 other foundations during the period 1963-1966, at least 108 involved partial or complete CIA funding. More importantly, CIA funding was involved in nearly half the grants the non-"Big Three" foundations made during this period in the field of international activities. In the same period more than one-third of the grants awarded by non-"Big Three" in the physical, life and social sciences also involved CIA funds.
"Bona fide foundations, rather than those controlled by the CIA, were considered the best and most plausible kind of funding cover for certain kinds of operations. A 1966 CIA study explained the use of legitimate foundations was the most effective way of concealing the CIA's hand as well as reassuring members of funded organizations that the organization was in fact supported by private funds."
Church Committee
Gloria Steinem“The CIA's big mistake was not supplanting itself with private funds fast enough”Gloria Steinem1967


Employees on Wikispooks

Wayne FredericksAssociate director for South and Southeast Asia19561961
Bassma KodmaniLeader of Governance and International Cooperation program for the Middle East and North Africa19992005
Gary SickDeputy Director for International Affairs19821987
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  1. Saunders The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters, p.139
  2. Saunders The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters, p.139
  3. Saunders The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters, p.139