The Ford Foundation Has a Bad Idea

The Ford Foundation is a primary supporter of Catholics for Choice (CFC) and other organizations that oppose the Gospel.

The corner façade of the Ford Foundation Building in New York City.
The corner façade of the Ford Foundation Building in New York City. (photo: Stakhanov [CC BY 3.0 (])

“Ford has a better idea” was Ford Motor Company’s 1960s advertising slogan. I grew up around the Motor City and my dad worked at Ford’s so their “better idea” was part of my childhood. But “bad idea” comes to mind regarding their private charity, the Ford Foundation. It consistently funds activities and groups that are enemies of the Church. The question then becomes: Can we accept their money, or do we risk getting tangled in a web of evil?

Recently, Edward Pentin put the Ford Foundation on our radar by reporting that they gave $2 million to organizations tied to the bishops’ conference of Latin America, which played a leading role in organizing the Amazon Synod. The Vatican statement via Bishop Mário Antônio da Silva of Roraima said that, “as Christians and Catholics, we defend life from conception to natural death, so we’re against abortion.”

Pentin reported: “For this reason, he said the Church in Brazil is ‘of course concerned about the way investments that come to various entities are used.’ As far as he was concerned, though, the funds received for the Amazon are ‘used to promote life’ and to ‘promote the lives of women, children, pregnant women, families and the elderly.’”

Perhaps. But when millions of dollars are involved, does the line between their ideas and ours get blurred?


Meet the Foundation

The Ford Foundation is one of the world’s wealthiest private charities, with assets of $12.5 billion (2014). It was created in 1936 (as a tax shelter) to advance human welfare focusing on education, science, and policymaking for minorities and the poor. Their causes now include strong support of abortion rights, gender ideology and LGBT activism, and climate change.

Catholics should know that the Ford Foundation is a primary supporter of Catholics for Choice (CFC). With a name like that, guess who the liberal media loves to interview for a Catholic/not-Catholic viewpoint?

Cecile Richards, the former president (2006-2018) of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, has sat on the foundation’s Board of Trustees since 2010. Ford is big on population control. According to Influence Watch, “The best estimates are that Ford spent $150 million on birth control programs between 1958-1983, with funding peaking at $25 million in 1969.” (The 1969 value of $25 million would be $217 million in 2019.)

The Ford Foundation was responsible for a shocking, large-scale sterilization in India, known as “The Emergency.” Still quoting Influence Watch:

According to the left-wing website Vox, Ford Foundation official Douglas Ensminger created large-scale sterilization programs in India, offering vasectomies to millions to halt population growth. In 1975, under influence from the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi used emergency powers to appoint herself a virtual dictator of the country and declared a national emergency to implement a large-scale compulsory sterilization program, imprisoning dissenters.

To learn more, here is an article from the also left-leaning Pulitzer Center.


Anti-Catholic CFC

Referring to the CFC, Influence Watch explained:

The group takes an extremist pro-abortion position, circulating a petition arguing that ‘Public funding for abortion is a Catholic social justice value.’ Claiming to be ‘part of the great majority of the faithful’ who have chosen to embrace a ‘Catholic alternative’ to ‘the dictates of the Vatican on a number of moral issues,’ the CFC supports even late-term abortions, does not recognize the authority of the Church on abortion or contraception, and holds that ‘every individual must follow his or her own conscience….’ From the beginning, CFC’s publicity efforts have been deliberately antagonistic toward the Catholic Church.

James Miller wrote in his book Catholics for a Free Choice Exposed, “The largest contributor to CFFC has been the Ford Foundation. … Year after year, the Ford Foundation has been among the largest private funders of worldwide abortion and population control. In 1993 the Ford Foundation approved grants of over $22 million for reproductive health and population’ activities.” [In 1919 that would be almost $40 million.]

In Ungodly Rage, Donna Steichen investigated how radical feminism — including wicca, lesbianism, pantheism, New Age and the like — crept into many Catholic convents and turned them into liberal anti-patriarchal beds of rebellion. In the book, she noted that the Ford Foundation has been a major funding source for CFC, which was founded in 1970 by the National Organization of Women (NOW).

Steichen explained that the CFC was neither Catholic nor a membership organization, but rather a lobbying and disinformation arm of the abortion movement funded by foundations that “either advocate population limitation, represent birth control manufacturing interests, or, like the Playboy Foundation, otherwise profit from the sex trade.”

In 1984 and 1986, the fake group persuaded hundreds of Catholic feminists to sign two full-page New York Times advertisements declaring there is no single “legitimate Catholic Church position” on abortion, and that Catholics may dissent from the Church teaching and remain in good standing. According to Steichen, the ads were arranged by CFC board member Daniel Maguire, a former priest, for more than $30,000 [ $74,000 today] each.” Using the name “Catholic,” they publicly denied that the Church has magisterial authority established by Jesus Christ to guard and transmit his saving truth.

So getting back to my earlier question: Should Catholic groups accept money from the Ford Foundation? Can we put their money toward good or do we risk contamination? My personal opinion is that the Ford Foundation is incompatible with the life of our Church. And we have enough to worry about right now, so let’s not.