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Henry Ford II shifted foundation's focus

D aniel Howes had it right when he said Ford Foundation grants have changed through the years ("Ford Foundation probed; AG claims Michigan left out," April 2). That's exactly the direction taken by Henry Ford II during his 33 years with the foundation, first as president and later as chair and member of the board of trustees.

In nearly every major decision, he sought to create a national and international institution of the highest order, which would pursue innovative solutions to the problems of humankind.

When Henry Ford II oversaw the transformation from a local Detroit foundation to a national and international organization, he and the members of the board were sensitive to the needs of the traditional Ford family charities the foundation had supported -- most notably the Henry Ford Hospital and the Edison Institute, now the Henry Ford Museum. That is why he and the board provided large endowment grants totaling more than $100 million.

In addition to fulfilling the high ideals passed down from Henry, Edsel and Henry II, the trustees of the foundation today put the highest value on good governance. The foundation has earned a deserved reputation for careful and thoughtful management.

The foundation is proud of its Michigan heritage. We have been part of discussions on the renewal of downtown Detroit for more than two years, and we look forward to continuing to do so in the most respectful and constructive way.

New York, N.Y.

Henry Ford II shifted foundation's focus
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