The Pew Charitable Trusts History
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19103-7017
Telephone: (215) 575-9050
Fax: (215) 575-4939
Total Assets: $4.89 billion (1999)
NAIC: 81341 Civic and Social Organizations
Stewardship is our most important mandate at The Pew Charitable Trusts. Good stewardship of the seven charitable funds that constitute the Trusts means allocating our resources wisely, effectively and in accord with the intent of our donors and the mandate of our current board. Merely doing or supporting good work is not sufficient. We must do our work well. With finite resources in a world of seemingly infinite problems, we must leverage our resources beyond the comparatively small amount of money we have to invest. By striving to make a discernable difference in a few key areas, the Trusts' staff fulfill their responsibility to the board, and the institution fulfills its responsibility to a 52-year heritage left to us by our donors. Key Dates:
- The Pew Memorial Foundation is founded by the four surviving children of Joseph and Mary Pew.
- The Glenmede Trust Company is created to administer the new Pew Memorial Trust.
- Foundation establishes The Mary Anderson and The J. Howard Pew Freedom Trusts.
- The J.N. Pew, Jr. Charitable Trust is created upon its namesake's death.
- Foundation establishes The Knollbrook Trust.
- Co-founder J. Howard Pew dies.
- The Mabel Pew Myrin Trust, created in 1957, is activated after her death.
- The Medical Trust, the legacy of Mary Ethel Pew, is activated upon her death.
The Pew Charitable Trusts, established in 1948, is one of the nation's largest private foundations. Its over $4.7 billion in assets sustains seven separate trusts, all of which were created by 1979 to provide financial support for a variety of domestic and international charities and services--some of which involve considerable risk but hold the hope of great public benefit. From income generated by its assets, the foundation makes annual grants totaling over $200 million. Over one-fifth of that total is used to underwrite charitable and public service programs in the Philadelphia area, to which, historically, the Pew family and the foundation have maintained close ties. The remaining 80 percent in grants is awarded to widely distributed charities that support educational, cultural, and religious activities; environmental studies; and public health, policy, and resource services. In the 1980s and 1990s, the foundation increasingly used funds for initiating projects in partnering arrangements with external agencies.
1859-1948: The Pew Legacy and Establishment of the Foundation
Joseph Newton Pew (1848-1912), who established his family's fortune, was an enterprising and prescient businessman who saw great promise in the fledgling petroleum industry. The industry first sprang up in his native Pennsylvania, when, at Titusville, the nation's first producing well was dug in 1859. He began his career in the field in 1876, when he helped develop Pittsburgh's initial natural gas service. Just fourteen years later, he founded the Sun Oil Company, which, by the time of his death in 1912, had a solid toehold in an industry that in its early stages was almost completely dominated by John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company.
A devout Christian and highly principled man, Pew was a notable philanthropist who passed his values on to his children. Two of his sons, J. Howard and Joseph Newton, Jr. took on the management of Sun Oil and turned it into a major corporation, greatly adding to the family's wealth. They also became two of the Pew Charitable Trusts' founders when it was established in 1948 as The Pew Memorial Foundation. As the founders, they were joined by their two sisters, Mary Ethel Pew and Mabel Pew Myrin. The four principals, the core of the foundation's board, established the foundation as a memorial to their parents. They were also joined by three other family members: Jno. G. Pew, cousin to the founders and Sun Oil's vice-president in charge of production; Frederick B. Hufnagel, Jr., nephew to J. Howard Pew's wife, Helen; and J.N. Pew III, son of J.N. Pew, Jr.
The board met for the first time on April 3, 1948. Using 880,000 shares of Sun Oil stock, it capitalized the foundation from the annual dividend of $880,000 returned by those shares. Initially, the board members emphasized four major areas of giving: scientific, charitable, religious, and educational. The first six grants awarded by the foundation reflected its priorities, starting with $30 thousand to the American Red Cross and $95 thousand to the Institute for Cancer Research.
1949-55: Expansion under the Original Board
Areas of focus and the number of annual grants made by The Pew Memorial Foundation began expanding quickly. For example, in 1949, at the suggestion of J.N. Pew, Jr., the foundation began a program to assist black colleges and, in 1951, hired Jerome H. Holland as a consultant on interracial concerns. Holland, who would later become president of Delaware State College and Hampton Institute, visited many of the nation's black colleges to help shape the foundation's special program.
In its early days, the foundation worked anonymously and was therefore virtually unheralded and unknown. That was the choice of the Pew family members, who insisted on following a biblical admonition instructing alms givers to give in secret. Most grants were awarded on the basis of what the Pew family members already knew about recipient organizations, and many reflected their individual interests and concerns--especially those promoting higher education, public-health improvement, emergency response needs, and religion. From the outset, because of the Pew family's close ties to Philadelphia, agencies in that city were major beneficiaries of the foundation's largess. Yet the organization also reached out to help both national and international groups, especially during emergencies. Altogether, between 1948 and 1956, The Pew Memorial Foundation made 181 grants totaling $12.5 million.
1956-70: Growth under the Glenmede Trust Company
A major change in the administration of The Pew Memorial Foundation came in 1956 with the founding of The Glenmede Trust Company. Named after the Pew family estate in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, it was created to provide a professional staff to alleviate the increasing demands on the board members' time that the foundation's grant-making decisions and asset management required.
Initially, The Glenmede Trust's primary responsibility was the administration of the newly created Pew Memorial Trust, plus two others established in 1957: The Mary Anderson Trust and the J. Howard Pew Freedom Trust. Under a twelve-member board of directors, Glenmede began operating with just two staff members, including its first president: Allyn R. Bell, Jr. Board membership was governed by a special succession agreement designed to preserve the vision of the organization's founders. Nine of the twelve board members were major Sun Oil stockholders, and included the four founders and other members of the original board of The Pew Memorial Foundation. These members, comprising the Committee on Grants, Donations, and Contributions, had the primary responsibility for grant-making decisions. The committee grouped its awards under five categories: educational, charitable, medical-hospital, medical-research, and religious grants. It also maintained the founders' policy of anonymity.
Between 1957 and 1969, under the administration of Glenmede, the committee awarded 2,562 grants with a yearly average funding of $5 million, or four times the yearly average granted between 1948 and 1956. Many of the larger grants were made to assist major expansion projects, such as the building of new facilities. Much more numerous were smaller grants made to assist projects in a wide variety of fields and geographical areas. Also, after co-founder J.N. Pew, Jr.'s death in 1963, a memorial trust in his name became the fourth trust administered by Glenmede. A fifth, The Knollbrook Trust, was added in 1965--named after the home of J. Howard Pew.
In 1967, the grants committee permitted the first public recognition of one its gifts. As a tribute to the deceased co-founder, J.N. Pew, Jr., it allowed the J.N. Pew, Jr. Charitable Trust to be listed on a bronze plaque in the lobby of the Lou Henry Hoover Building at Stanford University. In the 1970s, new federal filing requirements would bring a permanent end to the Trusts' policy of anonymous grant making.
1971-79: Changes in Leadership and Accelerated Growth
In a two-month period at the end of 1971 and the beginning of 1972, J. Howard Pew and Mabel Pew Myrin died. Their remaining sister and co-founder of The Pew Memorial Foundation, Mary Ethel Pew, died seven years later. Although their great legacy remained, their loss brought an end to the first era of the foundation, that in which its creators actively chartered its course.
Mabel Pew Myrin's death brought the activation of a memorial trust that had been created in her name in 1957, bringing the number of Pew family trusts administered by The Glenmede Trust Company to six. The Medical Trust, the legacy of Mary Ethel Pew, brought the total to seven upon her death in 1979.
Because J. Howard Pew had been the chairman of Glenmede's Committee on Grants and the foundation's principal guiding hand, his passing compelled the committee to select his replacement. Their choice was Robert G. Dunlop, who had succeeded J. Howard Pew as president of the Sun Oil Company in 1947. Under Dunlop and his successor, R. Anderson Pew, the foundation's grants committee had to cope with a revised federal tax code that, in effect, required Glenmede to sell some stock and re-invest part of its capital at a higher rate of return. The upshot was that the foundation had more money to grant. Between 1970 and 1975, its grant funding increased from $9.4 million to $33 million. By 1978, the figure increased to $49.6 million-nearly as much as its grants total for the entire 1960s decade.
Altogether, between 1970 and 1979, the foundation awarded 3,552 grantees $296 million. In the process, the Committee on Grants addressed some new or broadened concerns, including ecological, political, cultural, and economic interests-both at the local and national levels. The changes also occasioned increases in the size of Glenmede's staff, and its move-twice--into new offices.
1980-90: New Policies for Change
In March of 1979, facing a new decade, the Committee on Grants met to determine the ways in which it could best adapt to the needs of a world undergoing some extraordinary and rapid changes. Its decision was that the committee itself should initiate some projects, partnering with agencies that its members thought capable of implementing them. Thereafter, the foundation played a much more active role in its support of its founders' philosophy and goals. The committee also separated grants into seven categories: American Policy and Values; Conservation; Culture; Education; Health; Religion; and Social Welfare. Later it added two more: Federated Giving and Emergency Needs. In addition, the committee decided to hire consultants in these areas to help guide it.
First hired were consultants in the health field. Among other things, they recommended the creation of the Health Policy Program, which the committee approved in 1981. The next year, under that program, the foundation made four grants totaling $9 million. The program also served as a prototype of the Trusts' TIPs (trust initiated programs), the first of which was the Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences, a very successful project that became the working model for future TIPs. Its modus operandi called for identifying an issue, selecting an advisory panel, soliciting proposals, and implementing selected programs under administrating agencies outside the foundation.
In the 1980s, TIPs led to a special emphasis on health professions, providing support to educational projects in primary care, dentistry, nutrition, veterinary medicine, and nursing. At the same time, The Trusts continued to award grants to the various institutions and agencies that the individual Pew family members had supported through the foundation's history. TIPs provided the means of linking past interests to current needs. In addition, the Trusts provided contingency funds for disaster relief, as it had done since its inception.
In 1986, Dr. Thomas W. Langfitt became Glenmede's president. The next year, he administered a reorganization plan in which The Glenmede Trust Company became the sole subsidiary of The Glenmede Corporation and was divided into two divisions: The Trust and Investment Division and The Pew Charitable Trusts Division. At that time the Committee on Grants became the board of the latter.
By 1988, in terms of funds allocated in grants, The Pew Charitable Trusts had become the second leading private foundation in the United States. In the decade's closing year, its board authorized $146 million in grants to 448 agencies, a sum greater than the total amount awarded in the first 25 years of the foundation's existence. In all, between 1980 and 1989, its grants, made to over 5,000 agencies, totaled $1.13 billion.
1990s: New Directions
Throughout its history, The Pew Charitable Trusts endeavored to reverse the decline of religious faith wherever it was occurring, promote the free-market economic system throughout the world, and extend charity where evidence clearly indicated it was needed. While that mission remained intact throughout its history, new and changing problems in the world necessitated an ongoing reassessment of how that mission might best be implemented.
In the late 1980s, as the Trusts' assets continued strong growth, the board adopted four basic principles to guide it through the 1990s: philanthropy as a service, accountability in grant making, open communications, and interdisciplinary programming. It also elected to broaden its geographical scope through grants with both a national and international impact.
In 1991, the Trusts reserved $35 million for special grant-making projects and the creation of a 'Dream Team' of advisors to help identify needs that could be served through new grant-funded initiatives. From discussions with the Dream Team, The Trusts' board chose to fund a handful of projects, including, in 1991: The Delta Partnership (for improving the economic condition in the Mississippi Delta region); the Pew Partnership for Civic Change (for redressing problems in small cities); and Earth Force (for promoting an ecological awareness in the nation's youth). In 1992, the Neighborhood Preservation Initiative (for assisting working-class neighborhoods' efforts to maintain their health and viability) was funded as well.
While these initiatives were being implemented, general growth was steady. By 1993, the Trusts' grants, made to 506 organizations, totaled almost $167 million. The foundation was also undergoing some internal changes. In 1992, increases in the size of the staff had caused the Trusts to move once more, this time to One Commerce Square, a new office building in Philadelphia's financial district. Two years later, in 1994, Langfitt resigned his presidency and was replaced by the Trusts' executive director, Rebecca W. Rimel.
Through the mid 1990s, the Pew Partnership for Civic Change addressed several issues. Among other things, it sponsored successful youth and community development projects in several cities. In 1996, the foundation also initiated the Pew Leadership Award for the Renewal of Undergraduate Education, promoting curriculum reform in higher education. It also put considerable effort into the fight to save the nation's forests, one of its longstanding concerns. Furthermore, the trust began addressing new problems, such as the erosion of the democratic process in America. It supported projects designed to boost election turnouts, reform campaign financing, and restore ethical values in politics.
During the remaining years of the decade, while continuing to support its traditional charities, the Trusts remained flexible by using a Venture Fund for exploring needs outside the defined goals of its six program areas: culture; education; environment; health and human services; public policy; and religion. In 1999, 43 grants totaling $83.5 million were made through the Venture Fund program&mdashout 33 percent of the total amount of $250.2 million committed to grants by the Trusts. The figures revealed the foundation's determination to meet the new challenges of a changing world head on.
- Cockburn, Alexander, 'PEW: Millions Wasted?,' The Nation, January 31, 1994, p. 117.
- Key, Peter, 'Pew Makes a Push into Politics,' Philadelphia Business Journal, March 3, 2000, p. 1.
- Kriz, Margaret, 'Call of the Wild,' National Journal, October 23, 1999, p. 3038.
- McMillen, Liz, 'Pew Trusts Conclude Sweeping Reorganization of Grant-making Programs and Leadership,' The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 2, 1990, p. A27.
- Moran, Mark, 'Easing the `Cold War' between Managed Care, Academic Med.,' American Medical News, December 8, 1997, p. 3.
- Pittman, Karen, 'Proven Strategies to Build Healthy Communities for Youth: Changing Conditions, Changing Odds, Changing Lives,' Nation's Cities Weekly, June 16, 1997, p. 9.
- Rottenberg, Dan, 'Town & Country's Generous American Award for 1991: The Pew Charitable Trusts,' Town & Country Monthly, December 1991, p. 137.
- Scheinbart, Betsy, 'America's Richest Foundations Give to Arts,' Back Stage, August 27, 1999, p. 2.
- Shmavonian, Nadya K., 'The Pew Charitable Trusts,' Alcohol Health & Research World, Winter 1989, p. 75.
Source: International Directory of Company Histories, Vol. 35. St. James Press, 2001.