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Ford Foundation to Close Offices in Russia, Vietnam

Resource type: News

Philanthropy News Digest |

Original Source

After seeing the value of its endowment fall by nearly a third in 2008, the Ford Foundation has announced that it will close its offices in Moscow and Hanoi in order to cut costs, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The moves will result in the loss of thirty jobs while saving the foundation approximately $4 million. Under the leadership of president and CEO Luis A. Ubiñas, the New York City-based foundation has been engaged in cost-cutting efforts, including restricting travel and scrutinizing energy use and supply purchases, that have resulted in savings of about $22 million.

“Regrettably, our efforts so far have been overtaken by the continued instability in global markets and the corresponding decline in the foundation’s endowment,” Ubiñas said in an e-mail to staff that was reviewed by the Journal. “Given our obligation to our grantees worldwide, and the people they serve, we have been forced to make some very hard choices to bring about further savings.”

The Russian and Vietnamese offices were opened thirteen years ago as part of the foundation’s efforts to promote diversity and tolerance and enhance economic opportunity in the two countries. The foundation will continue to fund its International Fellowships Program in both countries and plans to continue another project in Vietnam that works to mitigate the consequences of the U.S. military’s use of Agent Orange, a chemical herbicide, during the Vietnam War.

At the same time, Ubiñas indicated that the foundation may need to make additional cuts. “We are all affected, both personally and professionally, by the severity of this global recession,” he said in his e-mail to staff. “At the foundation, our challenge is to make the decisions required of us to ensure that our grant budgets are as robust as possible in this time of need and that our costs are structured to meet our long-term needs.”

Spector, Mike. “ Ford Foundation to Close Two Overseas Offices.” Wall Street Journal 4/29/09.

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