Victoria Foundation’s Gadsden Initiative

The Victoria Foundation’s Gadsden Initiative engages a new generation of global citizens looking to make a lasting difference in their community through engagement, vision and philanthropy. It is inspired by Burges Gadsden, whose vision that people would choose to support each other if they were given the opportunity led to the founding of the Victoria Foundation in 1936.

With the first Cohort launched in October 2019, the Initiative brought together an engaged group of individuals and families to build relationships within the community through a series of learning sessions, community activities and networking opportunities based on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (shown below).

The first Cohort included a diverse group of 30 people from the Millennial and GenX generations (roughly those born 1964 or later), coming from a mix of professional backgrounds and experiences.

“The cohort started as a bunch of diverse strangers but quickly became a community, formed around shared values of community philanthropy and fueled by mutual desire to connect and learn how to make a positive impact through our giving.” ~Gadsden Member

To participate, each cohort member committed to an 18-month-long learning journey and established a new permanent endowment fund with a minimum contribution of $5,000. Funds were matched by the Victoria Foundation up to $5,000.

The inaugural program, which completed in March 2021, included a variety of site visits and learning sessions that covered topics such as, grantmaking, impact investing power and privilege and defining personal giving values.

“It has offered a lot of educational opportunities to learn about charitable activities across sectors, and offered a structured yet flexible way for me to explore the potential of my lifetime giving, guided by values. It has helped me feel like I can make a meaningful impact through my fund even if I am only able to give a few hundred dollars a year right now. Everything counts.” ~Gadsden Member

Looking ahead at the next 85 years, the Victoria Foundation is committed to making philanthropy accessible for all and to working with diverse donor groups. We look forward to launching the next Gadsden Initiative in the fall of 2021.