"Go in Search of People, find out what they know, build on what you learn"
The Independence Foundation is a private, not-for-profit philanthropic organization serving Philadelphia and its surrounding Pennsylvania counties. The Foundation's mission is to support organizations that provide services to people who do not ordinarily have access to them. Our current funding agenda includes the following areas of interest: Nurse Managed Health Care, Culture and the Arts, Public Interest Legal Services, and Health and Human Services, with special focus on food distribution, housing for the homeless, and services which help people with disabilities to lead independent lives. We also have two special initiatives: Public Interest Law Fellowships and Fellowships for Visual and Performing Artists.
The Foundation was founded in 1932 by steel maker William H. Donner, who wanted to spur cancer research after the death of his son in 1929. The first charter, founding the International Cancer Research Foundation with assets of $2 million, was dedicated to cancer and medical research. By the end of the Second World War, Mr. Donner recognized that government would dominate medical research and he pulled his foundation back from this area, changing its name to the Donner Foundation. Mr. Donner looked at the world of college education and decided that there were many substantial grant programs, but found little available at the pre-college level. Thus began the Foundation's long involvement in secondary education.
William Donner died in 1954 at the age of 96 and the directorate fell to his children and grandchildren. In 1960, there was a split - $44 million in assets divided equally, with the newly formed Donner Foundation moving to New York and the original Philadelphia-based foundation changing its name to the Independence Foundation.
The Independence Foundation funded secondary education through scholarships, endowments and a school loan program, as well as supporting local cultural and arts organizations. In 1988, the Foundation changed its focus to nursing education through scholarships and endowments to Schools of Nursing across the country.
Since 1993, the Foundation's focus has continued to be in the healthcare field, supporting initiatives in community-based nurse managed health care in neighborhoods where services are not traditionally available. In addition, the Foundation supports Culture and the Arts, Health and Human Services, Legal Aid and assistance to the aged, disabled, or impoverished, and Fellowship programs in Public Interest Legal Aid and Visual and Performing Arts.
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