“We’re investing in people, not just programs,” explains Tarah Evans, the Johnson Family Foundation Executive Director. The foundation uses an innovative approach to philanthropy, sometimes called “engaged philanthropy,” which forges new links between the private and not-for-profit profit sectors by combining principles of investing (due diligence, taking risks on young entrepreneurial innovators and new start-up organizations, investing in leadership, etc.) with traditional grant-making. This approach brings the strength of both strategies to organizations and socially-minded entrepreneurs seeking new ways of improving the lives of underserved children and adults.
Through founder Pitch Johnson and his family who comprise the board of directors, the Johnson Family Foundation has always followed a simple philosophy: Give back to the community. “I don’t think of it as charity,” says Pitch. “It’s for the community I grew up in.”
Pitch and the foundation devote substantial resources and assets to a wide variety of educational, cultural and community institutions. Broadly speaking, they support youth development and educational programs, the arts, economic development, higher education and entrepreneurial training programs.
Although the foundation board and staff recognize the great need for financial support, they seek out potential grantees and do not accept unsolicited proposals.
Read more about the Johnson Family Foundation’s innovative approach to investing.
“Doing Well and Doing Good” by Tarah Evans.