Our Mission & Vision

Our Mission & Vision

Our network of philanthropic organizations supports vibrant Northwest communities.

Philanthropy Northwest is the network for philanthropists of all types working in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming. We are passionate about coming together to learn, spur action, and support one another in our personal, professional and organizational growth. 

We are home to The Giving Practice, a national consultancy committed to joyful, effective and equitable philanthropy. Their mission is ours: advancing knowledge and action in philanthropy. The Giving Practice team does this by supporting philanthropy organizations like yours to discover your possibilities, live your values and achieve your goals. 

Together, our goal is to support everyone throughout the Northwest working in philanthropy to strengthen and create more equitable communities.

 

Our Mission

We promote and facilitate philanthropic and cross-sector collaboration to build resilient, equitable and inclusive communities in the Pacific Northwest.

Our Vision

Northwest communities have vibrant, healthy futures that honor our past, our people, and our cultures.

Our Story

We are a philanthropic ecosystem for collective action in the Pacific Northwest. 

 

Our logo represents who we are today, but also our dynamic future. It embodies the spirit of collaboration, connections and networks that make our work possible.

Annual Reports and Financial Info

You can access our most recent annual reports and financial forms

Our History

Philanthropy in the Northwest

Philanthropy has been an inextricable feature of Northwest culture for generations. The first known acts of philanthropy in the region occurred among Native communities. For Northwest tribes, success was and still is measured not by how much you have, but how much you give away. This belief system was expressed through the potlatch — a spiritual ceremony in which a member of the tribe invited the entire community to give everything away. 

As Oregon and Washington became industrial powerhouses, followed by Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, wealthy business owners and their families began giving back to their communities. Philanthropy in the Northwest was primarily a family affair until the mid-1900s when the Boeing Company created their Employees Charitable Fund — the largest employee-directed charitable organization in the world. Around that same time, the world’s first community foundation, Seattle Foundation, was created. 

Microsoft moved to the region in 1979, and the tech boom that followed transformed the economy and culture of our region, bringing a new generation of philanthropists that included more young people and more women, as the shifting social climate created the first-ever class of female wealth-generators.

 

A Community of Grantmakers

An expanding community of grantmakers voiced a desire to connect and collaborate to make an impact. Norton Clapp, Medina Foundation co-founder and former Weyerhaeuser Company president, responded to this demand in 1976, leading the efforts to create the Pacific Northwest Grantmakers Forum — known since 2000 as Philanthropy Northwest. 

Philanthropy Northwest was supported by 10 founding directors: 

  • Robert R. Hunt, Seattle Trust and Savings Bank
  • Ben Bowling, Seattle Foundation
  • Frank Dupar, Dupar Charitable Foundation
  • Robert B. Hitchman, Seattle Foundation
  • Justin Lee, Glaser Foundation
  • Nancy Skinner Nordhoff, Skinner Foundation Trust
  • Elgin Olrogg, Ben B. Cheney Foundation
  • Charles F. Osborn, Bogle & Gates
  • Rowland Vincent, Weyerhaeuser Company Foundation
  • Gregory P. Barlow, Medina Foundation

In the more than four decades since our founding, Philanthropy Northwest has come to serve a diverse group of philanthropic organizations across six states and beyond. We remain committed to helping philanthropists work together across geography, culture, race and wealth to improve our communities. 

We love to hear from you.

Contact our staff directly, or use our contact form to get in touch.