The Police Foundation: Ford Foundation, 1969

Center for Strategic Philanthropy and Civil Society (Duke)



Case Study Sector


In 1969, the Ford Foundation undertook a study on the state of the police field and on funding opportunities for the Foundation. The study concluded that existing labor unions and most police departments were resistant to change and insufficiently imaginative. It recommended the creation of a new institution as a vehicle through which Ford could support research and new ideas that might then spread through the field.
The Foundation allocated $30 million over the next five years to create the Police Foundation. The new organization sought initially to provide resources to reform-minded police chiefs in five different cities. From 1975 to 1993, Ford gave an additional $14 million, and, in 1993, Ford enabled the Police Foundation to become self-sustaining with a $10 million donation to its endowment fund. In the ensuing years, the Police Foundation made research and analysis in the field a legitimate and recognized undertaking. As with many of the other important nonprofits it has started up over the years, the Ford Foundation not only underwrote the creation of the Police Foundation, it went on to provide core support, project-specific funding, and major endowment support.



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