Episode 103: Darren Walker. Ford Foundation President. Why Hope Is the Oxygen Of Democracy. How Philanthropy is Fighting COVID, Extremism, Inequality. Why Texas Is a Model for What’s Broken in America. How Work Gets Done in the Gray Space. Perseverance.


Independent Americans is your trusted, independent source for news, politics, culture and inspiration. It’s a smart, fresh, candid perspective you won’t find anywhere else in the media. 

Winter is dragging on, but we’re bringing light to warm things up. Our host, Paul Rieckhoff (@PaulRieckhoff) is tearing into a pivotal week in the quest for accountability after the Jan 6 attack, Biden’s first month in office, 500,000 dead from COVID, fallout from the Texas power outages, and NASA’s landing a rover on Mars. 

With America at a crossroads, our important, inspiring and iconic guest is Darren Walker (@DarrenWalker). The President of the mighty $14B Ford Foundation, Darren is one of the most influential leaders in America. He rose from the first class of Head Start, to leading one of the most powerful organizations on Earth. A true helper, patriot, and conscience for America, Darren was named to Time’s Most Influential People, Rolling Stone’s People Shaping the Future, Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business and Out magazine’s Power 50. Under his leadership, Ford became the first non-profit in US history to issue a $1B designated social bond to strengthen non-profit organizations in the wake of COVID. For over 80 years, Ford has been focused on a mission to reduce poverty and injustice, strengthen democratic values, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. 

With America facing a daunting collision of mammoth challenges, Darren is attacking them more than almost any other leader. He joins us for an insightful conversation about the fragile state of affairs, the impact of COVID, inequity and extremism on our most vulnerable. He breaks down the failure in Texas, and what it reveals about America, and why he still believes in the spirit of America. And, as in every pod, we get insights into his leadership lessons learned, his favorite drink, and the first car he ever owned.

Darren is empowering Americans in bold ways. And tackling the world’s biggest problems from climate change to racial justice to the pandemic. He’s a uniquely independent leader to guide us forward. As we all trudge through the final weeks of winter and toward a more vaccinated country, this conversation will warm your heart.

America is more divided than ever before. But Independent Americans is adding light to contrast all the heat. Every episode brings the Righteous Media 5 I’s: independence, integrity, information, inspiration and impact–and explores the most pressing issues of the day with leaders who are shaping what America will be in the future. 

If you’re among the 40% of Americans who are independent, this is your show. If you’re a Republican or Democratic Party, but you’re not a die-hard partisan, this is your show. If you’re a concerned American who cares about the future of your country, this is your show. All are welcome. We invite you to join us and be a part of the solution. 

And join us for exclusive access and events by becoming a member of the Independent Americans Patreon community. For just $5, you get access to events, our guests, merch discounts and exclusive content. 

You can also see video of this conversation with Darren Walker and over 100 episodes with leaders from Chuck D to Chuck Hagel; Sarah Jessica Parker to Meghan McCain; Stephen Colbert to Mayor Pete Buttigieg on the Righteous YouTube page.

Independent Americans connects, informs and inspires and is powered by Righteous Media. Stay vigilant, America. 

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