The Ford Foundation has announced that Darren Walker will become its tenth president, succeeding Luis A. Ubiñas in September.
Walker was recruited by Ubiñas in 2010 to serve as vice president for Education, Creativity and Free Expression, one of the foundation's three major programming areas. Walker previously had served as vice president for foundation initiatives at the Rockefeller Foundation, where he oversaw the execution of a broad range of programs in the United States and internationally, and prior to that had been chief operating officer at the Abyssinian Development Corporation in Harlem, where he guided efforts to develop housing for low- and moderate-income families, was involved in two large privately financed commercial projects, and led the development of the first public school built in New York City by a community organization. Walker, who began his career at the international law firm of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, also spent seven years at the Union Bank of Switzerland and worked for a year as a full-time volunteer at the Children's Storefront, an elementary school serving low-income families in Harlem. His appointment comes after a national and international search following Ubiñas' announcement in March that he would step down as the foundation's president after nearly six years of service.
A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and the UT School of Law, Walker has taught housing, law, and urban development at the NYU School of Law and Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and is a fellow of the Institute for Urban Design. In addition, he serves on the boards of the Arcus Foundation, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, and the New York City Ballet.
"In Darren we have found a president of powerful and diverse ability, deeply committed to our mission and tradition of leadership in the social sector," said Ford Foundation board chair Irene Hirano Inouye. "With extensive experience in both the private and nonprofit sectors, a strong command of the substance of our work, and an engaging leadership style that relies heavily on collaboration and partnership, he represents the best of all worlds. He's an excellent leader for a global organization with grassroots sensibilities, and we're very proud that he emerged from within Ford's own pool of talent."