Major Liberal Foundation Claims Attacks On DEI Are ‘Anti-Capitalist’

The Ford Foundation’s investments director, Roy Swan, published an opinion piece in Fortune Magazine on Wednesday, asserting that attacks on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) programs are fundamentally “anti-capitalist.” The Ford Foundation, known for its significant contributions to left-leaning causes, has positioned DEI as a crucial element for fostering economic growth and fairness in the workplace.

Swan, who oversees Mission Investments at the Ford Foundation, argued that DEI initiatives are essential for enhancing employee engagement, which in turn drives innovation, productivity, and profitability. “DEI is a capitalist tool to increase income and wealth through fairness,” Swan wrote. “Increased fairness results in increased employee engagement. Increased employee engagement leads to greater innovation, productivity, and profitability.”

The Ford Foundation has a long history of funding liberal causes, including substantial donations to organizations like Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the Tides Center. Swan’s article comes in response to what he describes as a “ruinous rhetorical civil war” against DEI, suggesting that opponents of these programs are motivated by a desire to maintain racial and economic hierarchies.

Swan criticized the opposition to DEI, stating, “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.”

The article highlights the anxiety and resentment some individuals feel towards DEI programs, especially when perceived as benefiting marginalized groups. “The idea that Black people might benefit from DEI programs has caused anxiety, controversy, conflict, fear, and resentment,” Swan said. “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 more than 30 states enacting laws to ban or limit DEI practices, often citing constitutional concerns, Swan maintains that DEI frameworks are crucial for economic prosperity. He estimates that improving employee engagement through DEI could generate corporate profits of $550 billion 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 wrote.