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Letter from the President: June 2019

In 2018, the Foundation, for the first time in its history, awarded $100 million in grants in a single year. That we were able to do this is due to a generous Board, a dedicated staff, and, above all, an overwhelmingly thoughtful, creative, and committed set of grantees. We are immensely grateful to you, our partners, for the work you do – work that is designed to expand knowledge, to create equity, and to improve policies and practices that affect the lives of millions and the health of our planet.

This is not easy work, and it is especially not easy in an environment where truth is increasingly treated as a malleable commodity, and where policy discussions too often are shrill, harsh, and personal.

But in these times, we are inspired by your work, the values espoused by our Board– humility, courage, justice, opportunity, sustainability, innovation, relationships, and integrity– and, especially, how your work embodies those values. We fund organizations, leaders, and projects that reflect those values, because we believe that is where the best chances for progress lie. Relationships built on humility and integrity can make easier the tough policy discussions we must have and can lay the groundwork for long-term, sustainable solutions. Innovation opens the possibilities for new approaches when the old roads seem to lead only to roadblocks. Courage lights the way, even when sitting back feels easier than marching forward. And, overall, we work together with our partners toward a world where justice and opportunity are the watchwords for all.

We continue to look for ways to help you do the important work that you have undertaken. During 2018, we expanded organizational effectiveness grantmaking, as we believe that ideas and leaders can move farthest and fastest if they are part of strong organizations.

To help you even more, we will be opening our doors to you later in 2019. We have added an office in San Francisco and expanded our conference and meeting room space in our headquarters in Los Altos. The latter space will be large enough for meetings of up to 75 people. If you are a current Foundation grantee and would like to use this space, please reach out to Yalda Mohammadi. We will look forward to hearing from you and offering you time and space to build relationships and to craft those innovative solutions that will advance progress.

We thank you for the work that you have done in 2018 and the work that you continue to do. To assure that you can keep up with each other (and with us), we will continue to share programmatic updates and what’s new and exciting in our regular blog posts; how our funding has been allocated in each of the last four years and by program in our Year-at-a-Glance interactive pages; each grant the Foundation has ever awarded in our searchable grants database; and, as of this year, quarterly updates that describe the total dollars awarded per program during the current year.  The update for Q1 2019 is here.

Thank you again for all you do to light the way forward.