In March 2022, the Friedman Family Foundation announced its closure. Following was our grantmaking focus that guided us over our 32 years.
As a family foundation, we sought to express and further the values we were taught: a respect for the capabilities and dignity of all people, a belief in the power of ideas and in individual empowerment, a commitment to systemic change, a reverence for learning, faith in the ability to create a better world and an obligation to the San Francisco Bay Area that has been our family home for five generations.
The focus of our grantmaking worked toward the systemic reduction of poverty. We feel a responsibility to expand the choices available to people with all too few. Poverty, in all its forms, has been increasing ever since 1973 in this country. We are more divided as a nation than at any time in our lifetimes. Almost all trends run in the wrong direction.
Our mission worked to help change this direction. We do not believe that an expansion of the welfare state or increased charity alone are the answers. We believe that this society must find ways to expand the opportunity to produce. We must introduce new programs and policies that allow those on the margins of the economy a reasonable chance to craft their own futures.
We looked for model organizations with an effective track record and for new projects which offered innovative changes likely to create a broad impact or which provide a lasting impact on fewer lives. While we respected the need for direct service, our interest was in organizations and projects with explicit strategies and promise for system and policy change. Our focus was the San Francisco Bay Area; however, we recognized that poverty exists all over the country and that innovative solutions often emerge across this larger world. Thus, we occasionally considered projects beyond this region, projects that offer lessons or benefits for the Bay Area. We recognize that poverty and opportunity in the Bay Area will be affected and effected by efforts at the state and national levels.
Most of our grants were relatively small to groups with antipoverty strategies ranging from organizing to model program development to policy advocacy. We delighted in renewing support to high performing organizations. We sought to increase the utility of our modest grants by offering general support that gives organizations the ability to use the funds where they believe they can be most effective and by keeping our grantmaking requirements simple and minimal.
The overall purpose of the Friedman Family Foundation was to fund programs that attempt to end the cycle of poverty. We were interested in programs which provide tools, support, and opportunity to people in need in order to overcome the root causes of their poverty, and in which the people to be helped are part of the design and decision making of the organization or project. We funded excellent organizations and new and creative programs working for systemic change.
To advance our mission, the Foundation supported economic development programs that attempt to create systemic change. We feel systemic change is created when the impact goes beyond the direct beneficiaries and creates fundamental, enduring changes to a system. We supported programs that help the economically underserved create wealth and financial stability, policy efforts that create financial equity and innovative anti-poverty strategies.