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The Ford Family Foundation is a private, non-profit foundation with headquarters in Roseburg, Oregon. Roseburg lies in southern Oregon where the North Umpqua and the South Umpqua rivers join — timber country.
The Foundation makes grants to public charities and agencies predominantly benefiting communities in rural Oregon and Siskiyou County, Calif. Our heritage comes from these communities and the men and women who created them.
In addition, the Foundation designs, manages and funds programs that aim to improve the wellbeing of children, families and communities in our region, including a scholarship program for students attending college or university. Our mission is “successful citizens and vital rural communities,” and we invest in both people and places to achieve that mission.
What we believe
We believe that every person has the potential to succeed in life. We believe in the value of education, gainful employment and self-determination for all people regardless of the circumstances of their birth. At the same time, we know that many people do not have access to the opportunities and supports that enable their success. Our investments address this opportunity gap. We also know that people encounter obstacles along the way, and we aim to help them overcome those challenges.
We believe in the power of rural communities. Communities create the conditions that allow children and families to thrive. Communities are the backbone of our democracy. We believe that a community works best when it works for all of its members, especially for those who are disadvantaged or excluded due to poverty, race/ethnicity, and geography. Our investments provide rural communities with the tools and capacities they need to build a vital future for themselves – a future where every resident can thrive.
We believe that the future of rural Oregon and Siskiyou, Calif., depends on finding common cause and mobilizing collective effort. Communities and their residents are diverse. We believe that healthy communities harness the strength that comes from those differences and create a sense of belonging and commitment to the greater good. Our investments build on the wisdom of rural residents and seek ways to ensure that every voice is heard and respected. Creating a vibrant future is a complex task. It needs all of us – together.
We commit ourselves to putting these beliefs into action.
OUR CORE VALUES
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:
- Be accessible, welcoming, and responsive to all who aspire to improve the wellbeing of children, families and rural communities in our region.
- Listen first, and be guided by the wisdom and resourcefulness of rural communities and their residents.
- Build genuine, trusting relationships in every dimension of our work and with every constituency: our staff, board, grantees, scholars, rural communities and partners.
- Be nimble and have multiple, flexible ways to support good work: grants, scholarships, investments, community building, technical assistance, research, and convenings.
- Invest in individuals’ and communities’ capacity to build a vital future for themselves.
- Recognize the diversity of the people, organizations, and communities we serve and ensure that we are inclusive and respectful of this variety.
- Reach and support those who are most disadvantaged and excluded from opportunity and participation in decision-making.
- Make decisions based on combination of data, best practices, and knowledge of the communities, organizations and people we serve.
- Use our resources strategically and leverage other investments.
- Evaluate ourselves and build a continuously improving, learning organization.
- Have long term perspective: work to improve systems and structures of opportunity in our region; be ambitious, try new things and take risks.
- Communicate and advocate for rural priorities and needs.
- 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.
WHERE WE WORK
We primarily serve rural communities in Oregon and Siskiyou County, Calif. We define “rural” as communities under 35,000 in population not adjacent to or part of a metropolitan area. The Scholarship Programs offer assistance to residents of rural and urban Oregon and Siskiyou County, Calif. The Visual Arts Program offers assistance to artists and organizations throughout Oregon including rural and urban areas.
Watch a four-minute video about The Ford Family Foundation: