The Edna McConnell Clark Foundation is undergoing a major transition to be more effective at improving conditions for disadvantaged people and their communities — specifically young people growing up poor. Following a series of successful pilot activities, the foundation has begun to shift an increasing share of its assets from a range of programs, largely focused on public systems reform, to a single effort to help youth service organizations grow stronger and better able to support more young people to successfully make the transition to independent adulthood.
Purpose of Site:
To disseminate information on the foundation's programs, news, and publications.
The story of the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation really begins in 1969, when Edna McConnell Clark, a daughter of the founder of Avon Products, decided with her husband, Van Alan Clark, to set a fresh course for what had become a very large but unstaffed family foundation. Mr. and Mrs. Clark doubled the size of the endowment and charged their sons Hays, Van Alan, Jr., and James with overseeing staffing and establishing priorities to focus the resources of the foundation.
The sons wanted to maintain the Clark family's down-to-earth approach to philanthropy. After carefully considering a wide range of opportunities, the trustees selected narrowly defined programs in each of four areas: the poor, children, the elderly, and the developing world. The foundation's programs today continue to reflect the spirit of those early decisions.
In the last twenty-nine years, the foundation has made grants totaling $495 million. As of September 30, 2000, the foundation's assets were valued at $713 million. Two grandchildren of Van Alan and Edna McConnell Clark — H. Lawrence Clark and James McConnell Clark, Jr. — serve on the foundation's nine-member board of trustees, while sons Hays and James are trustees emeriti.
The newly designed home page of the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation displays a wealth of information on the organizations various programs and its publications. Its simple and straightforward organization is easily navigable and allows for quick-and-easy access to all of the foundation's information resources. Annual Reports are also available for download.
The Institution and Field Building initiative section is the site's outstanding feature. Key to the foundation's Institution and Field Building approach in support of youth development organizations is a comprehensive, multistage process used to identify promising youth development organizations, assess their overall capabilities, and subsequently invest in the growth of those organizations most capable of benefiting from this kind of support. By helping a select number of youth development organizations enhance their overall operations, improve the quality of their programs, and do a better job of serving more young people in need, the foundation believes that, as a result of their accomplishments, these organizations will become sustainable and serve as models for the field.