Client Stories

An inside look at some of Foundation Source's clients and their philanthropy.

Case Studies

  • Penny Wise: Using Micro-Grants to Fight American Homelessness

    The Barbara and Stephen Miller Foundation didn’t start out with a mission to combat homelessness.  “When we opened the foundation in 2008, our thought was to do work on education,” recalls Barb Miller. “We had been doing work with a low-income school district in Chicago’s north suburbs when that work started pointing us toward a greater need.”

  • Warming Family Dynamics While Cooling the Climate: A Small Foundation Makes a Major Impact

    The Edwards Mother Earth Foundation (EMEF) of Washington State, founded in 1997 by Robert L. Edwards, didn’t start out with a clear directive to fight climate change through energy efficiency. But through the family’s efforts, and guidance from Foundation Source, it has become an engine for environmental change, as well as a training ground for future generations of family leaders.

  • Foundation Source Saves Client $75,000 In Foundation Excise Taxes

    An established foundation became a Foundation Source client in early 2006. During a conference call with the foundation president and the CPA who would be preparing the tax return during the transition year, they complained about the hefty excise taxes owed by the foundation that year, nearly $150,000 based on the standard 2% rate.

  • Helping Adults with Autism and Their Animal Companions

    Peter Emch of Huddleston, Virginia, started his foundation in 2007 to support the autistic community and animal sheltering. He and his wife, Merope Pavlides, share a commitment to family and a love of animals. Before they had children, including a son with autistic spectrum disorder, their family consisted of a pack of three dogs. “After I retired, we wanted to find a way to give back to both endeavors,” Peter recalls. “I wanted to leave something lasting for our kids and I realized that a foundation would be a good way to accomplish my goal.”

  • An Ophthalmologist Finds His Blind Spot and Helps Heal a Nation’s Heartbreak

    In the late 80s, Dr. Richard Boas, 63, became the adoptive parent of a girl born in Korea. Almost 20 years later, he accompanied the staff of the adoption agency he had worked with on a trip to Korea. It was a trip that would transform him. “By training, I’m an ophthalmologist who specialized in treating glaucoma. On that trip, I found my own blind spot and resolved to do what I could to help Koreans address their own blind spot to mothers giving up their children."

  • Atlantic Trust

    Atlantic Trust creates investment, financial, and estate planning strategies customized for the needs of select individuals and families. Julia M. Beisel, a Vice President and the Senior Client Service Manager in charge of Private Wealth Management, has years of experience handling personal investment trusts. However, she readily admits that working with private foundations represented a major challenge.

  • The Price Family Private Foundation

    Residing in the Florida Panhandle, the Price family wanted to establish a family foundation to provide direct help to individuals and families within the community who had encountered difficulties in their lives. However, according to Mrs. Jo-Ann Price, attorneys and tax advisors cautioned that IRS regulations governing private foundations made this type of granting complicated and time consuming.

  • Murphy Family Foundation

    For years after the establishment of the Murphy Family Foundation in 1986, its administrators had to deal with a time-consuming round robin of paperwork. They would receive written proposals, review them and pass them on to the foundation’s trustees for their review. Only then would the trustees meet to discuss the grant request. Often, the trustees would want to refer back to previous requests from one organization or another to see if changing circumstances warranted a different decision from the past. But it became increasingly difficult to keep all the information for each grant request readily available.

  • The Hagan Foundation

    In 2005, Mr. Hagan decided to establish a charitable foundation. Because of his time commitments to his three young children and the demands of a fast-growing business, he wanted a turnkey operation that provided “simplicity and convenience.”

Among Peers

Conversations with private foundation donors about their philanthropic journeys and the causes important to them.

  • A Conversation with Maria Silvestri

    As a self-described “cultural activist,” Maria says that her challenge, and the mission of the John & Helen Timo Foundation, is to promote and support Carpatho-Rusyn culture as a living, vibrant, and evolving entity.

  • A Conversation with Cindy Lee

    Cindy has dedicated her foundation—and her life’s work—to saving animals and ending animal cruelty. Although she’s a resident of Colorado, her foundation is active across the country. Whether she’s saving wild mustangs in Nevada or shelter dogs in Connecticut, she tackles ambitious goals with unflagging generosity and energy.

  • A Conversation with Paula Golden

    Broadcom Foundation takes an innovative approach, supporting both graduate-level research and middle school engagement through its signature program, Broadcom MASTERS® (Math, Applied Science, Technology and Engineering as Rising Stars), the premier international middle school science and engineering fair competition.

  • A Conversation with Elizabeth Carlock Philips

    Dallas native Elizabeth Carlock Phillips got interested in philanthropy at an early age. She started a jewelry business in high school that became her full-time career for seven years and led her all over the world, including to Uganda, where she was Founding Designer of the Akola Project, a nonprofit social business that empowers marginalized women, and Peru, where she consulted for Peru Paper Company. Just a few months into her marriage to husband Kevin, and with a baby on the way, Elizabeth Carlock Philips found herself at the helm of Philips Foundation in Greensboro, North Carolina. Not surprisingly, the new executive director took to the position like the proverbial duck to water, coming up the learning curve quickly, thanks to vision, passion, and the inspiration of her peers.

  • A Conversation with Richard Abrons

    In a recent Huffington Post blog, playwright Richard Abrons, president of The Louis and Anne Abrons Foundation, echoed the sentiment of an unnamed philanthropist saying, “I would rather reduce pain than spread joy.” It’s the kind of statement you would expect to hear from a pragmatist, someone who is extremely rational about his own capacity to affect change, yet persistent in the pursuit of giving. That’s Richard.

  • A Conversation with Carrie Morgridge

    For many donors, running a private foundation is a side job, or more likely, an avocation. Not for Carrie Morgridge of The Morgridge Family Foundation. Carrie is a champion in the education sector, “investing in the transformation of education for both students and educators.” This month, she is bringing together a group of committed educators in Washington, DC and St. Louis, MO for Share Fair, a one-day conference on integrating technology into classrooms.

  • A Conversation with Jay Sandak

    It sits quietly in the recesses of the philanthropist’s psyche. That voice. Always there. Questioning. Sometimes doubting. Occasionally the voice gains resonance; often just before a large grant is made. That voice which shouts with contemplative doggedness: “Am I making a difference?”

  • A Conversation with Diana Barrett

    Most private foundation donors restrict their support to one or perhaps a few select causes that engage their passion. Not Diana Barrett. As President and Founder of The Fledgling Fund, Diana tackles a broad swath of challenges by inspiring social action through storytelling.

  • A Conversation with Michael Leven

    Michael Leven knows the value of having a plan and pursuing it with great discipline. It’s an approach that, over a 50-plus-year career, has helped him become an icon in the hotel industry and one of franchising’s most innovative leaders.

  • A Conversation with Kristin Hull

    Much has been said about the new generation of philanthropists – individuals who aren’t just writing checks, but who roll up their shirt sleeves and bring all of their resources to bear: intellectual capital, networks, time, and influence. Kristin Hull is the embodiment of the new approach to philanthropy.

  • A Conversation with Jay Ruderman

    Many donors today are not fulfilled by only the grantmaking portion of philanthropy and foundation work. They want to know how to move the bar on issues in deeply meaningful ways – how to exert influence and leverage resources to be true “change-makers.”

  • A Conversation with Ted Caplow

    Dr. Ted Caplow’s journey from entrepreneur to philanthropist will likely resonate with other members of the funding community. There is nothing conventional about how Ted endeavors to save the lives of children around the world.

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