Our Core Values

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Our founders, Kenneth Ford and Hallie Ford, built the wealth that endowed our foundation from the riches of the land and their hard work. Our organization’s values are the values that guided them throughout their lives. 

Integrity: Promoting and acknowledging principled behavior
Stewardship: Responsibility to give back and accountability for resources and results
Respect: Valuing all individuals
Independence: Encouraging self-reliance and initiative
Community: Working together for positive change

We aspire to work every day to live out these values and beliefs. We aim to:

  1. Be accessible, welcoming, and responsive to all who aspire to improve the wellbeing of children, families and rural communities in our region. 
  2. Listen first, and be guided by the wisdom and resourcefulness of rural communities and their residents. 
  3. Build genuine, trusting relationships in every dimension of our work and with every constituency: our staff, board, grantees, scholars, rural communities and partners. 
  4. Be nimble and have multiple, flexible ways to support good work: grants, scholarships, investments, community building, technical assistance, research, and convenings.
  5. Invest in individuals’ and communities’ capacity to build a vital future for themselves.
  6. Recognize the diversity of the people, organizations, and communities we serve and ensure that we are inclusive and respectful of this variety.
  7. Reach and support those who are most disadvantaged and excluded from opportunity and participation in decision-making.
  8. Make decisions based on combination of data, best practices, and knowledge of the communities, organizations and people we serve. 
  9. Use our resources strategically and leverage other investments.
  10. Evaluate ourselves and build a continuously improving, learning organization. 
  11. Have long term perspective: work to improve systems and structures of opportunity in our region; be ambitious, try new things and take risks.
  12. Communicate and advocate for rural priorities and needs. 
  13. Shine the light on the work of people and organizations, rather than on ourselves.

This is ongoing work, and we are always seeking ways to improve. We invite feedback and assistance from all of our friends, colleagues and partners, and ask that you hold us accountable to these behaviors.

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