Q&A with Toby Luther

As a fellow alumnus now on The Ford Family Foundation Board of Directors, we thought it would be interesting to hear from Toby Luther, a Ford Scholar from the Class of 1994.

Q: How did it come about that you would be a Board member? Did someone from the Foundation contact you or did you volunteer?

A: The Board has been going through some transition and asked me this fall if I would be willing to serve. I was contacted by Ron Parker (Foundation Chair) who explained to me that I had been nominated by the full Board.

Q: How does your being a Ford Scholar Alumnus from the very first class of Scholars benefit the Board?

A: Everybody on the Board realizes the importance of the flagship program of the Foundation, the Ford Scholars Program. I think I have a pretty intimate knowledge of the program and can speak to its importance in the lives of our youth, particularly those coming from rural communities. Interestingly I am on the Ford Institute and Investment Committees and not the Scholar Committee as I am trying to get plugged into the other areas of the Foundation.

Q: How can the Ford Scholar Alumni Association benefit from you being on The Ford Family Foundation Board of Directors?

A: Ask not what the Foundation can do for you but what you can do for the Foundation! J  I think the FSAA is fairly robust and, from what I know, has a great working relationship with the Scholarship Office (Denise Callahan) and the Foundation CEO (Norm Smith). I expect with the new CEO that will continue. I continue to follow what the FSAA is doing and will do so as a Board member. Keep up the good work.

Q: What are the duties of Board Members?

A: Much of the work of the Foundation occurs by staff and then by the Board through committee work.  We all have a fiduciary responsibility to ensure the funds are managed properly and that we are fulfilling the Foundation’s purpose. I am specifically on the Ford Institute Committee and the Investment Committee where I am part of sub groups of the Board that focus on the Institute’s mission of building strong rural communities and rural leadership. On the Investment Committee we oversee the investment managers and the allocation of the investment portfolio balancing return objectives with the cash needs for grants, scholarships and foundation management.

Q: How much time is involved in being a Board Member?

A: The Board meets one day per quarter and has an annual planning retreat of a couple days. In addition, there are quarterly committee meetings and some other items that may come up. We are all encouraged to attend several events put on by the Foundation throughout the year that include the Scholar events, Ford Institute events, etc.

Q: Is there anything else you’d like to say?

A: Just happy to be able to contribute to the Foundation given the important role it has played in my life and that I see it playing in communities like ours.