A Letter from Our President

Dear Partners and Friends,

For more than 70 years, the work of the Joyce Foundation has been rooted in the belief that a community is stronger when it shares benefits broadly among its people. Three years ago, we further refined our mission: Investing in evidence-based public policies and strategies to advance racial equity and economic mobility for the next generation in the Great Lakes region. Our new plan doubles down on these two critical goals – racial equity and economic mobility.

In the past year, our mission has taken on greater urgency. The disparities revealed and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the resulting economic disparities and the racial reckoning sparked by the murder of George Floyd have made this work all the more imperative. Building on its longstanding efforts, the Foundation is extending its commitment to helping create a more fair, just and equitable future for our region’s young people through a five-year, $250 million strategy. Our board recently approved the first round of grants under the strategy – more than $15 million in funding.

This commitment allows us to continue much of the work we have done for decades – pushing for better educational outcomes for our students, safer neighborhoods, clean and affordable drinking water, equal access to the vote and support for artists and arts organizations of color. It also incorporates new areas of investment, including support for criminal justice reform, addressing COVID’s impact on education and protecting the region’s groundwater from depletion.

The new five-year timeframe reflects our understanding that sound, evidence-informed policymaking is often a lengthy process and requires sufficient time for research, development and proper implementation and evaluation. At the same time, the past year has underscored the need to be nimble when faced with the unforeseen. Therefore, we will regularly review our plans to gauge our progress and adjust if necessary.

I encourage you to learn more from our program team on what inspires their work in Culture, Democracy, Education and Economic Mobility, Environment, Gun Violence Prevention and Justice Reform and Journalism. As always, we look forward to achieving progress in partnership with you – our grantees, fellow funders, policymakers and other allies in the work. We know we will continue learning from you.

Thank you for your partnership,

Ellen Alberding