All Things Being Equal: Reflections of a Social Justice Leader - A Conversation with Darren Walker

Last night we welcomed Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation, to talk about his leadership journey and his calling to aid social justice efforts. NYU Wagner co-sponsored the event with the NYU Leadership Initiative, and moderating the conversation was Melody Barnes, Vice Provost for Global Student Leadership Initiatives at NYU.

Darren credited his leadership successes to many experiences, including being in one of the inaugural Head Start classes in his hometown of Goose Creek, Texas, and serving as the first black student body President at the University of Texas at Austin. 

He explained that his career started in international law and capital markets, but that he found his true passion while working in Harlem on social justice issues. He stated, "Finding meaning in our lives and finding work that is meaningful is a huge luxury. I work in an industry, and have a job, doing what I am most passionate about. How many can say that?"

Darren continuously injected humor into his comments. The crowd of nearly 150 was riveted by his poise and warmth, and often brought to fits of laughter.

With over $11 billion in assets and $500 million in annual giving, The Ford Foundation is the second largest philanthropy in the United States and operates with over ten offices worldwide. For more information visit: