Ford Foundation, extract from Who Rules America

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By far the biggest individual foundation, the Ford Foundation came into prominence during the 1950’s through its financing of universities, the arts, and educational television. It has spent more than $8o million on Educational Television (ETV), a figure that grows by $6 million a year. The president of ETV in the mid-I96o’s was Jack White, a former college dean:

White is theoretically responsible to a board of directors composed of school superintendents, corporation presidents, and college presidents, but the board plays mostly a public relations function. White’s chief responsibility is to the Ford Foundation, which subsidized and created NET (National Educational Television), chose White as its executive, and reserves the right to inspect every NET program produced with Ford Foundation money.[1]

National Educational Television, a network of 90 independent stations, provides late afternoon and evening viewing of children’s programs, cultural events, and informational programs. Audience surveys suggest that it is viewed by those of above-average income and a college education. We believe that NET may be described as one of the many lines of communication between liberal members of the upper class and the intelligentsia of the upper-middle class.

Ford has sponsored other projects which are an important part of American intellectual life. It gave a $15 million grant to the Fund for the Republic, which in turn set up the liberal-minded Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions in Santa Barbara, California. The grant was made during the presidency of millionaire Paul G. Hoffman. Hoffman is best known as the former president and chairman of the Studebaker Company. He is one of the leading “business liberals� in the American upper class and, as shall be seen, the founder of the influential Committee for Economic Development.*

Turning to another Ford benefaction in the educational realm, the foundation has taken over the financing of Harvard’s Russian Research Center from the Carnegie Foundation. It gave $131,000 of the center’s budget for 1965, with the remaining $9000 coming from Carnegie funds. With a staff of 57 scholars drawn from the many colleges and universities in the Boston area, this center provides consultants to the State Department and the CIA, as well as lecturers to the Army War College, the Foreign Service Institute, and the Council on Foreign Relations.[2] The board of the Ford Foundation is presented in Table 1. It consists, by and large, of the same men studied in the previous chapter, with an added dash of journalism and scholarship.



  • Stephen Bechtel is head of the little-known, but very large, Bechtel Construction Corporation of Oakland, California. Mr. Bechtel is also a director of Morgan Guaranty Trust, Southern Pacific, Continental Can, Bechtel-McCone Corporation, and Stanford University, among others.
  • Eugene Black is a Southern-born aristocrat who is a long-time employee of the Rockefeller interests. He is a director of Chase Manhattan, IT & T, The New York Times, Cummins Engine, the Brookings Institution, and Johns Hopkins University, among others.
  • John Cowles (Exeter, Harvard) of Minneapolis is co-owner of the family publishing empire, which includes Look Magazine and newspapers in Minneapolis and Des Moines. He is also a trustee for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and a director of the First National Bank of Minneapolis and the Equitable Life Insurance Company of Iowa.
  • Donald K. David is a Harvard Business School professor and dean who sits on several corporate boards.
  • Benson Ford (Hotchkiss, Princeton) is a director of the National Safety Council and chairman of the board of the Traffic Safety Committee. He is a vice-president at Ford Motor Company.
  • Less controversial than the Santa Barbara center is another Ford-sponsored center in California, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, invitingly ensconced in the wooded hills of Palo Alto, where successful scholars repair for a year at a time to think and write books at Ford’s expense.
  • Henry Ford II (Hotchkiss, Yale) is a director for General Electric, General Foods, and Philco. He runs the Ford Motor Company.
  • Roy B. Larsen (SR, NY) is chairman of the executive committee of Time, Inc.
  • John I. McCloy (SR, NY) is a director of many corporations. As a former chairman of the board at Chase Manhattan he is a key interlock between the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller empire. Mr. McCloy is chairman of the Ford Foundation trustees.
  • Joseph Irwin Miller, the head of Cummins Engine Company, is a director of AT & T and many other corporations.
  • Bethuel Webster (SR, NY) is a corporation lawyer who was a consultant for John J. McCloy when McCloy was High Commissioner of Germany.
  • Charles B. Wyzanski, Jr. (Exeter, Harvard), is a Jewish member of the upper class. Judge Wyzanski is married to another member of the Jewish aristocracy, Gisela Warburg, who came to this country to escape the Nazi persecution.