Higher Education & Social Change

The Ford Foundation’s International Fellowships Program (IFP) was a $340 million initiative that provided a path to higher education for over 4,300 social justice leaders from Asia, Africa, Latin America and Russia. Working with outstanding individuals from marginalized communities, the program enabled Fellows to pursue advanced degrees at universities worldwide in fields ranging from environmental and public health to economic development and the arts. IFP hired Ripple to spread the word about the program’s incredible accomplishments and it’s positive social impacts.

“At a time when media coverage focuses mostly on conflict and violence, Ripple was able to use their contacts effectively to help IFP spread its positive message about linking higher education and social change. They were great collaborators and helped us set and reach achievable goals for press coverage. Working with Ripple Strategies gave a terrific boost to our media outreach and coverage.”
— Joan Dassin, Executive Director, Ford Foundation International Fellowships Program

Ripple developed story ideas based on IFP’s goals, inspiring alumni, and country priorities. We developed key messages, wrote background materials, advised on shareable content for social media distribution, developed press lists and pitched reporters. It was very important to IFP that stories were accurate and on message; so in some cases we wrote original content about IFP alumni around the world, and placed them in strategic outlets. Our feature stories on behalf of IFP included alumni profiles in EcoWatch about Antonio Tembue assisting rural farmers in Mozambique; Carmen Osorio Hernandez spearheading an innovative recycling program in Mexico; Francisco Kennedy Souza defending the Amazon rainforest in Brazil; Samuel Duo building sustainable communities in Liberia; and Yi Xiaohua leading eco-tourism in China. General coverage of IFP included a thorough overview of the program published in Inside Higher Ed; plus stories in Philanthropy Journal, Audacity Magazine, and on air with NPR, CBS San Francisco, Instituto Mexicano de la Radio (Mexican Public Radio), and EduTalk Radio. IFP’s director Joan Dassin was also interviewed by PBS’s To the Contrary (a program that recently featured an interview with Hillary Clinton), which is expected to air in September 2013.