Letter from the Executive Director
October 17, 2012
As many of you know, Columbia Foundation has been involved in a planning process about the foundation?s future. This week the foundation is announcing plans to divide its assets among three successor family foundations, and cease operations by December 31, 2013. A statement from Columbia?s trustees follows this letter.
As we engage in this final year of grantmaking, I am awed by all that our grantees have accomplished over the years, and grateful for the guidance and partnership of our advisors and fellow foundations. It has been an inspiration to work with each of you, and to have been touched by your vision, courage, and commitment to the betterment of our world.
When Madeleine Haas (Russell) and her brother William Haas founded Columbia in 1940, they wanted to ?make a difference? and were willing to fund emerging issues. Many of you have championed causes before they were well understood and supported by the public and, from its earliest grants to today, Columbia has been proud to fund this work.
Columbia?s final grants will be awarded and paid by the end of the current fiscal year, May 31, 2013. The final arts grants were awarded in the summer and early fall of 2012; there will be no further consideration of arts applications by Columbia. Human-rights grant applications are currently under review, following the October 1, 2012, deadline; grants will be awarded during the winter of 2012-2013. The final deadline for grant applications for food and farming is December 1, 2012, with grant awards to be completed by May 31, 2013.
Mrs. Russell hoped that her children and grandchildren would continue the family?s tradition of philanthropy. This transition to three successor foundations is the most effective way to involve future generations of the Russell family in philanthropic giving. For further information about the successor foundations, please check the Columbia Foundation website in the summer of 2013.
I have served as executive director of Columbia Foundation since 1978; it has been a privilege and an honor to work for this family foundation and its trustees, and with its devoted staff. The trustees and staff at Columbia recognize and deeply appreciate the creativity and dedicated work of our grantees, advisors, and foundation partners, which has enabled Columbia to support important and lasting change.
Susan R. Clark