History, Mission & Values

Our History

The International Foundation was created in 1948. Like other early foundations, the International Foundation’s purpose was “to promote, foster, encourage and further non-profit, non-sectarian and non-political educational, medical, philanthropic, humanitarian, scientific and literary enterprises of all kinds.”

In its many years of grant making, the International Foundation has worked with thousands of US-based 501(c)3 organizations to bring knowledge, resources and compassion to individuals and communities around the world. In the mid-21st century, our strategic mission has evolved in concert with the exponential growth in the United States non-profit sector and rapid evolution of the discipline of international development.

Our Vision

We envision a world in which active philanthropy measurably improves the lives of the poor and disadvantaged in developing world communities.

Our Mission

We fund US-based non-profit organizations who partner with poor communities in the developing world to improve their health, education and incomes, while strengthening local capacity to sustain their benefits.

Our Values

At the core of our mission is the concept that charity alone isn’t enough. We must take charity to a level that delivers measurable and sustainable change that is “owned” by the project participants and that leaves broad, lasting benefits. We prioritize the principles of self-determination, local engagement, and sustainability, both as means to and ends of our philanthropic goals. More and more, this requires grant-maker and grantee to share a common view of the challenges, optimal solutions, and ultimate objectives of our partnering efforts.