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The Whitman Institute

A private foundation located in San Francisco, TWI promotes open-mindedness, cross-perspective dialogue, and engaged communication to improve the process and quality of public and private decision-making. Our ultimate goals are to broaden the public conversation about the importance of critical and collaborative thinking and to link that deepened awareness to effect individual and social change.

As a private foundation with an endowment of approximately $19 million, The Whitman Institute funds primarily in the areas of education, leadership development, and civic engagement. We provide financial support to organizations and individuals that share our passion for inspiring people to:

  • explore diverse viewpoints broadly and deeply
  • engage across difference, discipline, sector, and geography
  • discover how language affects perception
  • approach problems and decisions from multiple perspectives, particularly perspectives that may challenge their own
  • recognize and question assumptions underlying their beliefs and action
  • test the logic behind their thinking
  • become aware of, and learn from, the interplay between thinking and feeling
  • develop a capacity for empathy
  • create sustainable processes for inquiry and reflection

Along with our funding, we aim to be a source of ideas and a platform for connections and collaboration among our grantees, other funders, and other individuals and organizations that share our goals. We also strive to model the processes (and values) we support.

About Our Grantmaking

The Whitman Institute is a small foundation that balances multi-year support with annual funding. We do not accept unsolicited grant proposals. Rather, we seek out and fund a limited number of tax-exempt organizations that share our mission of exploring, supporting, and promoting ways to develop the capacity of individuals and groups to think critically and make good decisions.

We regard philanthropy as a genuine collaboration between grantor and grantee. While we provide the grants, our grantees do the hard work of moving us closer to realizing our mission. We see our role as larger than that of funder, and we invite our grantees to explore with us ways that we can work with them to ensure their success and enhance our mutual learning.

One of the biggest challenges nonprofit organizations face is achieving financial stability. Too often grantees must invent programs they think foundations will fund instead of seeking funds for what they really need. We believe that our grantees are the best judges of how to spend grant dollars. Therefore, our policy is to support organizations and to give grants for general operating expenses.

TWI also believes in the importance of cross-fertilization. Because of budgetary constraints, most nonprofit organizations have limited opportunities to meet with colleagues. For that reason, TWI periodically convenes gatherings to allow our grantees to share experiences and exchange ideas and contacts. Beyond just building a network of thinkers and activists, we hope our grantees will become a collective force for stimulating change in their own domains and in the larger society.

The Whitman Institute provides support for NCDD, and we appreciate their collaborative spirit and the trust TWI shows its grantees. Also be sure to check out TWI's blog at think4change.org.

Resource Link: www.thewhitmaninstitute.org


P.O. Box 2528

San Francisco



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