Good Neighbor Committee Mini Case Study Ford Foundation

EXAMPLE: Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation’s Good Neighbor Committee

The Ford Foundation created its original Good Neighbor Committee in 1996. In general, the foundation’s grant making extends around the globe. But the GNC was created to support organizations and activities in the part of the world that our headquarters staff can literally see and work in every day: the blocks between the Hudson and the East Rivers in easy walking distance from our building on East 43rd Street in New York City. Its other main purpose was to provide an opportunity for non-grantmakers on the staff to take a direct role in the foundation’s mission.

The New York GNC is made up of 10 to 15 staff members who each volunteer for an average of two years. Committee members come from all divisions of the foundation, including administrative, investment, and grant making, but participation is limited to those whose regular duties do not normally involve recommending grants. Since its inception in 1996, this committee has granted nearly $1.2 million to more than 40 different organizations serving midtown Manhattan. Grant sizes have been as small as $3,000 and as large as $70,000. We now have an annual budget of $500,000. Grantees range from local community organizations that maintain parks in the area, to providers of shelters and social services, to cultural organizations that put on art performances and exhibits.

“The committee supports organizations and activities that contribute to a positive, nuturing environment in midtown Manhattan. We look for grantees whose principal focus is on work that will contribute to the civic spirit, vitality, and liveliness of communities in this neighborhood. We serve as a resource by:

  • Providing grant support for innovative activities offered in the area
  • Encouraging emerging and established organizations to participate in this grant program
  • Exploring opportunities for neighborhood-based organizations to get to know each other and exchange ideas and resources”