The Hill-Snowdon Foundation (HSF) was founded by Arthur B. Hill in 1959 and was managed by family members on a volunteer basis for 40 years as a typical “kitchen table” family foundation. By 1997, the Foundation’s assets had grown significantly, and the Board decided that they should be more strategic in their grantmaking. HSF partnered with the Tides Foundation beginning in 1998 and through this relationship developed a new focus to its grantmaking and began developing more systematic policies and procedures. In 2004, when Hill-Snowdon transitioned to a staffed foundation, the board members enumerated their goals. They wanted to take risks based on sound analysis. They wanted to be nimble and responsive to grantseekers. They wanted to be a leader among philanthropists, thereby educating other funders and encouraging them to consider investing in a strategic and underfunded program area.
The new focus for its grantmaking was grounded in a philosophy of justice and fairness for some of the most vulnerable members of this society, low-income families – particularly low-income, youth of color and low-wage workers. Specifically, HSF chose to focus on Youth Organizing and Economic Justice Organizing. Moreover, the Foundation’s new focus was also grounded in the idea of a re-invigorated democracy, particularly for those people who have been marginalized or whose voices had been held silent in the decision making process to determine policies and practices that directly affect them. Thus, the Foundation adopted a core strategy of supporting community organizing in order to develop the leadership, skills and collective power of low-income communities to influence the decisions that impact their lives.
For more information, read Values to Vision to Action: The Hill-Snowdon Foundation Journey.