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Ford Foundation evaluates funding for women’s projects


The Ford Foundation was considering cutting back on grants for women’s projects in developing countries. To make an informed decision, they needed more data. Specifically, the Ford Foundation wanted to know: 

  • Which private American foundations and corporate giving programs are/were actively giving to women’s projects in developing countries?
  • When were they giving? How much? For what purposes? To what kind of recipient organizations? 
  • Were there any indications of outcomes of this funding?Access Philanthropy conducted interviews, surveys and database searches of American institutional giving to indigenous organizations serving women in Southeast Asia, Africa, South America, Central America and the Middle East.


After the first round of research, Access Philanthropy spoke with additional major women’s organizations in the survey areas to clarify key findings.


Our research showed an incredible famine of funding for women-centric programs in developing nations. We also discovered that women’s organizations in the surveyed areas were indirectly discouraged from applying to major U.S. foundations through funding patterns, grant conditions, and application procedures.

Ford used the research to help them determine their next steps. They decided to change the way they worked with women’s organizations while maintaining the previous level of funding.