Darren Walker is president of the Ford Foundation, a $16 billion international social justice philanthropy. Under his leadership, the Ford Foundation became the first non-profit in US history to issue a $1 billion designated social bond to stabilize non-profit organizations in the wake of COVID-19.
Before joining Ford, Darren was vice president at the Rockefeller Foundation, overseeing global and domestic programs. In the 1990s, he was COO of the Abyssinian Development Corporation, Harlem’s largest community development organization.
Darren co-founded both the US Impact Investing Alliance and the Presidents’ Council on Disability Inclusion in Philanthropy. He serves on many boards, including the National Gallery of Art, Carnegie Hall, the High Line, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture, Committee to Protect Journalists, Ralph Lauren, Bloomberg Inc. and PepsiCo.
Educated exclusively in public schools, Darren was a member of the first Head Start class in 1965 and received BA, BS, and JD degrees from the University of Texas at Austin. He has been included on numerous leadership lists including Time’s annual 100 Most Influential People, Rolling Stone’s 25 People Shaping the Future and Wall Street Journal 2020 Philanthropy Innovator of the Year. He is the recipient of 16 honorary degrees, including Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Medal. In 2022, he was awarded France’s highest cultural honor, Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, for leadership in the arts. In 2023 he was also appointed by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II to the Order of the British Empire for services to UK/US relations.