Change is one of the few things in life that is constant. Recognizing the profound nature of the changes that have occurred in the last decade, the Foundation recently decided it was time to step back and examine how these events have impacted our three primary areas of concern: AIDS, the Environment, and Mental Health. Though our commitment to continue funding in these areas was never in doubt, what was open for examination was the particular focus of our work within them.
The description of our current funding interests that appears in the following pages is a result of this just completed examination and exploration. The adjustments we have made to our funding program are not as dramatic as they are strategic. They reflect subtle yet important shifts of focus that we feel allow the Foundation to better address the current needs of each field.
Before highlighting some of these refinements, it is important to emphasize what has not changed. Our “venture capital” approach to philanthropy remains strong. It is the innovative pilot, model, and demonstration project that still commands our attention. In all three areas we are committed to assisting underserved populations and we remain particularly interested in projects that address the needs of children and the elderly. Projects that link formal professional competence with community-based efforts continue to interest us.
There are, however, some exciting new concerns called out in each of our funding areas. To highlight just a few: in AIDS, we add to our interest in prevention a heightened concern for making treatment information accessible, available and easily understandable. In the Environment, our focus shifts from educating a new generation of environmentalists to helping move society from environmental awareness to environmental activism. In Mental Health, we recognize the still much-needed effort to fight the stigma associated with mental illness as well as the growing need to utilize new knowledge and current technological advances to improve programs and services for those with mental illness.
For a fuller detailed description of our program interests please read on. We believe the changes we have made, combined with the Foundation’s longstanding philanthropic style and approach, best position us to respond to the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. As always, we look to unite our fiscal resources with the creative energy, expertise, and focused passions of our grantees. Indeed, when these are combined, great things happen.