AUSTIN – Today, Every Texan presented Ford Foundation President Darren Walker with its 2021 Texas Legacy Award in recognition of his visionary leadership and steadfast pursuit of social justice and equity for all people. Walker joins a distinguished line of Legacy Award recipients including Sister Norma Pimentel, Luci Baines Johnson, Secretary Henry and Mary Alice Cisneros, and Bernard Rapoport.
Walker has made revolutionary strides to strengthen the philanthropic sector’s response to rising inequality and systemic injustice in Texas, the United States, and worldwide. Most recently, under Walker’s leadership, the Ford Foundation took a historic and unprecedented step to increase philanthropic giving through the sale of social bonds, which served to stabilize and sustain nonprofit organizations in the wake of the global crisis.
“We were a $13 billion dollar institution 18 months ago but we’re a $16 billion institution now – in a pandemic,” said Walker. “After giving away almost $800 million dollars, we’ve still grown by $3 billion dollars. Because that’s the way wealth grows among well-endowed institutions.”
Walker continued: “Our wealth has grown disproportionately, so how do we think about fairness? Equity is the way. What we have as a policy is ensuring that we provide those institutions, nonprofits, and issues that have traditionally been marginalized with the kind of resources they deserve to receive.”
The virtual ceremony included a fireside chat with Secretary Henry Cisneros, the first Hispanic-American mayor of San Antonio, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and Every Texan’s 2013 Legacy honoree.
“Many of us have fought for a long time to have people of color and those who have been marginalized head major institutions because they make a difference,” said Cisneros. “You, as an African American man from Texas at the head of the Ford Foundation, are making a difference because you are there.”
A replay of the candid and illuminating conversation is available here.
As a fellow Texan and champion of social justice, Walker has been an ardent supporter of Every Texan’s work to advance people-centered policy solutions that uplift Texans of all backgrounds. “This organization is essential to the democracy in the state,” commended Walker. “We need resilient, durable, justice-seeking institutions like Every Texan, who are unrelenting in their leadership. This is why Every Texan is needed today more than ever.”
“Darren and the Ford Foundation are instrumental partners in advancing opportunity and equity in Texas,” lauded Marisa Bono, CEO for Every Texan. “We are grateful for Darren’s bold vision in reimagining the philanthropic sector and setting a new bar for foundations’ capacity to create lasting, systemic change in our communities. Every Texan is honoring Darren for his courageous commitment to racial and social justice. Darren grew up in Texas and he is an inspiration to all Texans and all Americans.”
During the event, Every Texan also announced the 2021 Future of Texas Award recipients, Andrea Segovia from the TransGender Education Network of Texas (TENT) and Charlie Bonner from MOVE Texas. The Future of Texas Award recognizes Texans under the age of 40 doing remarkable work to advance opportunity, justice, and equity for Texans of all backgrounds. Segovia and Bonner will be celebrated at an intimate cocktail reception on November 16 at the South Congress Hotel.