Louis Winnick, 85; Guided Investments for Ford Foundation

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Louis Winnick, 85, an economist who helped guide the investments of the Ford Foundation and promoted low-income home ownership, died Saturday at a hospice in Manhasset, N.Y.

The cause of death was mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer, his family said.

Winnick was born in Romania and came to Brooklyn, N.Y., as a child. He graduated from Brooklyn College and earned a graduate degree in economics at Columbia University.

He worked for the New York City Planning Commission and the Housing and Redevelopment Board before joining the Ford Foundation in 1962. He served as deputy vice president from 1968 to 1986.


Winnick is credited with steering the foundation toward making low-interest loans and equity investments in low-income urban areas. The Ford, like other foundations, had previously focused on grants only, believing that investing and philanthropy should be separate.

Winnick also promoted the idea that low-income home buyers could be reliable borrowers with properly structured loans. A demonstration loan project in Pittsburgh spurred mortgage lending in poor neighborhoods nationally.