|The Ford Foundation’s New York headquarters|
This is the story of the Ford Foundation’s involvement in the inner city, which began back in 1955 when it financed a program to smooth the way for the expansion of downtowns into low-income neighborhoods through urban renewal. The essay explains how and why this powerful foundation developed what might seem at first glance to be an unlikely alliance with neighborhood activists in the 1960s and 1970s, then put its primary focus on low-income housing in the 1980s. But let’s start at the grassroots level and find our way to the power elite from there.
If you were to go into a low-income, inner-city neighborhood today, whether it was predominantly white or predominantly black, you might see several locally managed nonprofit organizations called Community-Based Organizations, or CBOs. These CBOs provide social services, job training, support for neighborhood groups and new small businesses, and/or advocacy for tenant’s rights.
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