We were founded with the belief that in order to solve our greatest social problems, we have to help people get along better.
The work of our partners over the last decade helped to advance the research and practice that enables individuals to have the skills, mindsets, and orientations to positively engage with others.
Along the way, we discovered that it was not only important to support efforts advancing this work, but we also had the equal responsibility to model these ideals and values in our approach to philanthropy and social change.
WHAT WE'VE LEARNED
In 2018, we launched a comprehensive review of our first decade of grantmaking to better understand how our grantee partners contributed to advancing our mission and how our approach to philanthropy has helped or hindered this progress.
Through extensive interviews and surveys of grantee partners and peers, along with internal data analysis and reflection, we learned that:
Our mission and vision—to live in a country where people of different beliefs and backgrounds work together to solve our nation's most difficult social problems—resonates today, more than ever. And yet, we need to get crisper about the problem we're trying to solve, our definition of success, how our actions lead to outcomes, and how we might work more intentionally alongside others to realize this vision, as many see a growing need for attention and resources dedicated to advancing this work.
Our partnership-based approach to grantmaking—including our ability to make bold, timely investments at critical inflection points, viewing grantees as the experts, bringing trust as the active ingredient, and our frequent, informal engagement and orientation aimed at learning, improvement and problem-solving—is seen as distinctive, highly-valued, and perceived to lead to greater impact in the world. And yet, there are ways we can streamline our approach and broaden the diversity of voices and perspectives informing our strategy and benefiting from our grantmaking.
These reflections prompted us to step back and ask fundamental questions about what this work is all about, what this moment demands, and how we're positioned to contribute and lead.
We need vitamins, we need vegetables, we need clean air - and we need connection.
We now recognize that "helping people get along better" speaks to a bigger, timeless truth:
we share a common humanity, we are inherently relational and interdependent, and
we have a longing and capacity for deep human connection and belonging.
And yet, despite our natural inclinations, there are trends and forces that are causing
social isolation and fragmentation, hyper-individualism and partisanship, prejudice and hate.
We believe society is suffering a crisis of connection.
As we look at the research, the challenges before us, and the potential for progress, we have come to see our purpose as
an opportunity to define, elevate, and activate human connection as foundational to human thriving.
With these aspirations and beliefs, we are now on a learning journey with fresh eyes
to listen to and learn from others—within and beyond our network—to better understand
what it will take to realize this vision.
We are interested in learning how we can refine, focus, and evolve our work
to help overcome the forces of disconnection by lifting up the power of human connection.
We are going to push ourselves to get more proximate to the people and communities
who are driving this work to test our hypotheses and assumptions before we take this further.
We will engage in learning activities in an effort to advance our thinking to inform our longer-term strategy.
We hope you'll share ideas, individuals, and opportunities that will help us do just that.
We recognize and value human connection as a moral imperative, a scientific truth, and the key to individual and collective thriving in our diverse democratic society.
We believe everyone, at every age, deserves a set of core relationships that help them feel tethered, loved, and in turn, able to build healthy relationships with others.
We believe that people of all backgrounds have the ability to see the common humanity in those who are different from them and that working well across lines of difference is vital to the health of our shared society.
MEET THE TEAM
CONNECT WITH US
We're actively exploring how we can make the greatest impact toward this new vision.
Although we are not accepting unsolicited grant proposals, we welcome your innovative ideas, suggestions, and solutions for ways we can lift up the power of human connection.
Please feel free to be in touch with us if there are ways we can advance our understanding of what it will take
to address the crisis of connection.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT WILL YOUR WORK FOCUS ON?
We believe our society is suffering a crisis of connection. Despite our natural inclinations, there are trends and forces that are causing social isolation and fragmentation, hyper-individualism and partisanship, prejudice and hate. We are interested in learning how we can refine, focus, and evolve our work to help overcome the forces of disconnection by lifting up the power of human connection in the United States.
HOW DO I APPLY FOR FUNDING?
Consistent with our previous approach to grantmaking, we are not accepting unsolicited funding proposals at this time. We are on a learning journey with fresh eyes to listen to and learn from others—within and beyond our network—to better understand what it will take to realize this vision.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE ON A
As a result of our comprehensive review of our first decade of grantmaking, we recognize that there is more we need to understand. We will be engaging in activities that will help us to further crystallize and refine our approach to make the greatest impact going forward.
I HAVE AN IDEA!
HOW DO I SHARE IT WITH YOU?
That's great! As we're actively exploring what it will take to advance this mission, we’re interested in learning from you what's working, what more is needed, and how we can make the greatest contribution. We welcome your innovative ideas, suggestions, and solutions—please reach out using the above form.