Marking Public Welfare Foundation’s 75th Year

Marking Public Welfare Foundation’s 75th Year

It’s 1947. Harry Truman is President, and it is the start of a Cold War that would last nearly 45 years. Bread costs 12 cents per loaf, and the minimum wage is 40 cents per hour.

The year marks both the first Black news correspondent allowed into the United States Congressional press galleries and Jackie Robinson’s entrance into Major League Baseball.

It’s the year of the Truman Doctrine, the introduction of the Marshall Plan, and the creation of new federal agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency and the Department of Defense.

It was with this backdrop that Charles Marsh, a newspaper editor and publisher, founded Public Welfare Foundation in 1947. He deliberately chose a vague name to build a foundation that could – and would – evolve with changing times.

In our 75-year history, we’ve made over 5,700 grants totaling more than $700 million. Our focus areas have evolved to meet pressing issues of the day, from our first grant funding 28 sewing machines to support Jamaican women — a strategy that preceded the discourse on micro-grants — to our work today to advance transformative approaches to justice.

Our 75th anniversary provides an opportunity to look back in reflection and look forward in anticipation. We’ve done important work together – and that deserves to be recognized.  We will also continue to acknowledge the work that has yet to be accomplished.

Meager gains will not seed the change we seek. This year, we will continue to do work that attempts to deconstruct failed systems – and begins to seed responses that are rooted in love, community, and freedom.

We’ll be marking our 75th anniversary with special grantmaking, conversations that aim to further the dialogue, moments of reflection and storytelling, and a culminating celebration that we hope sparks joy (ideally, in person!). 

We will share more details about these opportunities throughout the year, so be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay up to date and join the conversations.