Overview

The 18 Hillman Family Foundations represent an evolving commitment to philanthropy that spans four generations and a broad range of grantmaking interests.

Although they share some common guiding principles (summarized below), each foundation has its own mission, funding priorities, and geographic focus areas. Given these diverse interests, applicants should select which foundation is the best fit for their project using the search tool and individual foundation webpages.

Shared Guiding Principles

Serving the community requires a responsive and flexible approach.

The best ideas do not always align with the current conventional wisdom, are often not the most expensive to implement, and rarely serve to advance a specific ideology. Because the Foundations were established for perpetuity, they can take the long view. However, they must also continually adapt to meet changing community needs and opportunities.

Risks are worth taking and foundations are well positioned to take them.

True innovation carries risk. There are no clear maps to follow. But if the problem to be solved or opportunity to be seized is an important one, and if the necessary elements of exceptional leadership, planning, and implementation are in place, significant risks can bring great benefit.

Good intentions are not enough.

To create meaningful change, nonprofits and funders must be disciplined and rigorous in understanding the needs of the people and communities they serve, designing approaches to meet those needs, implementing their plans, managing their resources, tracking their results and continuously improving their approach.

Growing and strengthening highly capable nonprofit organizations is a good investment in the future.

Innovative solutions are most likely to come from organizations that are professionally managed by a strong executive team and board of directors; continuously train their staff and volunteers in new skills; stay abreast of cutting-edge developments in the field; engage the people and communities they serve; make tough, data-informed decisions; and keep adapting and changing for the better.

Foundations provide the most community value when they are more than a funder.

From idea development through implementation, foundations can provide added value by fostering collaboration among critical partners, connecting local participants to national and global expertise, providing technical assistance, and helping to leverage additional resources to support grantees.

The true impact of work in the community may take years to develop.

But efforts to track and report meaningful milestones along the way benefit the organizations doing the work and the communities being served.

Current geographic areas of focus include:

  • Pittsburgh, PA
  • Boulder, CO
  • New York, NY
  • Portland, OR
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Santa Barbara, CA
  • Squam Lakes region, NH