Ford Foundation Director Labels DEI Opposition As ‘Anti-Capitalist’

In a bold opinion piece for Fortune Magazine, Roy Swan, the director of Mission Investments at the Ford Foundation, has labeled attacks on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs as “anti-capitalist.” This statement from one of the largest donors to left-leaning causes in the United States underscores the foundation’s commitment to DEI initiatives as a means to promote economic growth and fairness.

Swan argued that DEI programs are integral to the capitalist framework, enhancing income and wealth through fairness and boosting employee engagement. “DEI is a capitalist tool to increase income and wealth through fairness,” Swan asserted. “Increased fairness results in increased employee engagement. Increased employee engagement leads to greater innovation, productivity, and profitability.”

The Ford Foundation’s longstanding support for liberal causes includes millions in donations to organizations like Planned Parenthood, the ACLU, and the Tides Center. Swan’s article responds to the growing backlash against DEI, which he describes as a “ruinous rhetorical civil war.” He contends that opposition to DEI stems from efforts to preserve racial and economic disparities.

“Sadly, for America, DEI attackers have fallen prey to the paradoxically seductive and anxiety-provoking power of oppression psychology—tactics designed to protect superiority by erecting and maintaining race-based barriers to opportunity under the flawed assumption of a zero-sum world,” Swan wrote.

Swan highlighted the controversy and resentment that DEI programs often provoke, especially among those who feel threatened by the potential benefits these programs offer to marginalized groups. “The idea that Black people might benefit from DEI programs has caused anxiety, controversy, conflict, fear, and resentment,” he noted. “When one is accustomed to and feels deserving of the whole pie, even a crumb going to the hungry can conjure the pain of loss.”

Despite legislative efforts in over 30 states to restrict DEI practices, Swan insists that these initiatives are vital for business success and economic prosperity. He projects that better employee engagement through DEI could generate $550 billion in corporate profits annually. “DEI is a framework intended to help advance toward the too-often elusive concept of fairness, which will improve business engagement, productivity, profitability, and American economic prosperity,” Swan stated.