The Jackson Foundation Reflects

We recently had a productive Annual Board meeting of the Foundation’s Board of Governors.  We took the opportunity to reflect on the year’s achievements as well as the challenges before us.

The values Senator Jackson stood for and cherished throughout his career underlie the entirety of the Foundation’s work.  These ideas have been woven into the fabric of our daily efforts – into decision making around our large strategic initiatives, choosing local organizations as partners for our smaller program grants, supporting students through academic fellowships at the University of Washington, and training the young professionals who serve as our Jackson Leadership Fellows.

While Senator Jackson’s core values still hold true today, in some corners they seem wholly forgotten.  The lack of trust in facts, as well as in government and civic institutions pervades many people’s thinking.  Yet at the Foundation, we continue to shine a light on Senator Jackson’s important and fundamental ideas.

All of the nonprofits with whom we work are reassessing their strategies, goals, impacts and focus in light of the November election.  Our conversation at the Annual Board meeting reminded us about what we believe to be urgent and important, as well as identified questions that might warrant more in-depth discussion later.

As always, we face some challenges when measuring the impact of our work.  In philanthropy, impact is always difficult to quantify and attribute, partly because of its frequent role as a marginal player in a large game.  The ultimate goal of philanthropy is leverage – the exercise of power indirectly through investment but also influence.

We believe that we have found leverage points in our work on climate and national security, in promoting democratic values and human rights in Russia, in supporting the Jackson School of International Studies and the development of a new generation of foreign policy scholars, and, finally, in our Jackson Leadership Fellows program, which actively promotes civil dialogue in the model of Senator Jackson.  Take a look at a short video we prepared which talks about our successes and looks ahead to how we are making a difference moving forward.

Thanks for your interest!

Lara Iglitzin, Executive Director

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