Ford Foundation's Darren Walker was born in poverty, and now leads an organization worth billions

The key to understanding this moment in American history—in black history—is empathy.

That's what Darren Walker is saying. One could argue that if anyone is positioned to understand this dizzying landscape, he is.

Walker grew up poor in rural Texas, became one of the first kids in the Head Start program, and made it big on Wall Street in the 1980s. Yet his true calling was even bigger: He's now president at the Ford Foundation, an $11.2 billion philanthropic giant that's aiming to address social justice and inequality around the globe.