Building a More Inclusive Miami

Ford Foundation Offers Solutions

During its 50th anniversary year, The Miami Foundation is inviting people to share their Miami stories. Local native Xavier de Souza Briggs now serves as Ford Foundation’s vice president for economic opportunity and markets. His experiences growing up inspired him to champion social justice on a global level. Because of his expertise and deep Miami ties, he returned to Miami to share how philanthropies and nonprofits are uniquely positioned to bridge our city’s inequality gap.

Xavier de Souza Briggs grew up the child of a single mom, with Brazilian, European and Bahamian heritage. He moved to Miami at a young age and landed among the Cuban-American community at Belen Jesuit Preparatory School. Xavier and his mother lived in a modest apartment, just a few blocks from a public library – a place that opened the world to him. The academically rigorous, values-based education he received at Belen, where a commitment to service was implicit, led him ultimately to faculty positions at MIT and to serve in the Obama administration, before joining Ford Foundation as a vice president. Briggs would go on to become part of a momentous change at the foundation, which, two years ago, announced it would devote all of its grantmaking to combating inequality and recently pledged to divert $1 billion of its endowment to mission-related investments.

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