Ford Foundation Head to Receive 2018 Director’s Award

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Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, has announced the selection of Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, as the Director’s Award recipient of the 2018 National Design Awards. Unlike the other National Design Awards, which are selected by an interdisciplinary jury of design leaders and educators, the Director’s Award is chosen by Caroline Baumann, director of Cooper Hewitt, in recognition of outstanding support and patronage within the design community. “With a courageous vision for fighting social inequality, Darren has long been a champion of design as a democratizing force for good and a problem-solving catalyst for change,” Baumann said. As president of the Ford Foundation, Walker oversees an international social justice philanthropy with a $13 billion endowment and $600 million in annual grant making. Walker led the philanthropy committee that helped bring a resolution to the city of Detroit’s historic bankruptcy, and chairs the US Impact Investing Alliance. He co-chairs NYC’s Commission on the Future of Riker’s Island Correctional Institution and the UN International Labour Organization’s Global Commission on the Future of Work. Walker joins a distinguished group of previous Director’s Award winners, including Susan S. Szenasy, director of design innovation, former publisher and editor in chief of Metropolis; Make It Right, a non profit organization that builds homes, buildings and communities for people in need; and Jack Lenor Larsen, an internationally renowned textile designer, author and collector.

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