Tuesday 8th May 1956
Henry Ford II resigned as chair of the Ford Foundation. The Ford Foundation had been created in 1936 as a legal device with which the Ford family could escape then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “soak the rich” taxes. The foundation received a 95 percent equity on all non-voting Ford stock, while the family retained a five percent equity of all voting common stock. Without the restructuring, the Ford family would have had to pay over $321 million in federal inheritance taxes. To pay, the family would have had to sell so much of their stock that they would have lost control over the company. In 1955, Henry Ford II took the Ford Motor Company public. The issue of public ownership came about as the result of the Ford Foundation’s tremendous wealth.