Andrew Carnegie wrote his original “Gospel of Wealth” in 1889, during the height of the gilded age, when the country’s 4,000 richest families held almost as much wealth as the other 11.6 million American families combined. His essay laid the foundation for modern philanthropy.
Today, we find ourselves in a new gilded age—defined by levels of inequality that far surpass those of Carnegie’s time. The widening chasm between haves and have-nots demands our immediate attention.
Now is the time for a new “Gospel of Wealth.”
In From Generosity to Justice: A New Gospel of Wealth, Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, articulates a bold vision for philanthropy in the twenty-first century. With contributions from an array of thinkers, activists, and leaders including Ai-jen Poo, Laurene Powell Jobs, David Rockefeller Jr., and Dr. Elizabeth Alexander, Walker challenges and emboldens readers to consider philanthropy as a tool for achieving economic, social, and political justice.
That task requires humility, moral courage, and an unwavering commitment to democratic values and institutions. It demands that all members of society recognize their own privilege and position, address the root causes of social ills, and seek out and listen to those who live amid and experience injustice.
What began in Carnegie’s day as a manual for generosity now becomes a guide that moves us closer to justice—a guide that helps each of us find a way to contribute.
Justice is calling. It’s time we answer.
Darren Walker is president of the Ford Foundation, a $16 billion international social justice philanthropy. Under his leadership, the Ford Foundation became the first nonprofit in US history to issue a $1 billion designated social bond to stabilize nonprofit organizations in the wake of Covid-19.
Before joining Ford, Darren was vice president at the Rockefeller Foundation. In the 1990s, he was COO of the Abyssinian Development Corporation, Harlem’s largest community development organization.
Darren co-founded both the US Impact Investing Alliance and the Presidents’ Council on Disability Inclusion in Philanthropy. He serves on many boards, including the National Gallery of Art, the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Committee to Protect Journalists, Block, Inc., and Ralph Lauren.
Educated exclusively in public schools, Darren was a member of the first Head Start class and received BA, BS, and JD degrees from The University of Texas at Austin. He was named one of TIME’s annual 100 Most Influential People, Out magazine’s Power 50, and The Wall Street Journal’s 2020 Philanthropy Innovator. He holds sixteen honorary degrees and Harvard University’s W.E.B. Du Bois Medal. In 2022, he was named Commander of the French Order of Arts and Letters and appointed by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, to the Order of the British Empire for services to UK–US relations.