The focus on Early Childhood and the shift in the kind of work we do is changing how the foundation is structured and, in some cases, how work is funded. The foundation’s commitment remains the same, but the organization of the work will be different going forward.
Throughout its more than 50-year history, the foundation has been committed to supporting Seventh-day Adventist (SDA) schools and partners. Our founders’ legacy of supporting Adventist education remains a priority, and this commitment will not change under the new organizational strategy.
Since 2010, the Seventh-day Adventist Initiative team has implemented the foundation’s SDA projects. For decades, this work focused on supporting individual schools and elementary/secondary students, but in recent years it has shifted to a broader way of supporting the SDA community, including early childhood and systems-level change in SDA education.
The work today focuses on four areas: 1) supporting the SDA education system in developing a strong pipeline of school leaders; 2) helping partners understand and apply diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) principles and strategies to advance equity; 3) assisting partners in developing and implementing comprehensive, community-informed organizational strategic plans; and 4) supporting facilities projects.
SDA projects this past year have included:
The recent completion of the Instructional Framework for 21st-Century Educators — a tool that identifies best practices for effective, culturally responsive teaching — concludes the foundation’s work in the instructional support space. Because we believe there is great value in this body of work, it will be made widely available on a website to SDA schools and any other schools or systems interested in taking advantage of this rich content.
To implement this work most effectively, SDA initiatives will no longer be managed under a separate SDAI team. Instead, they are being integrated into other teams across the foundation. These changes not only help align the SDA initiatives with the new strategy but also allow SDA initiatives to draw on the expertise of other teams within the foundation.
Since launching in 2016, the Foundation’s Food Security Initiative (FSI) has made investments and formed partnerships that have fostered a more sustainable, collaborative and equitable local food system in the Washington, D.C. area. This work has increased the regional food system’s capacity to produce and distribute healthy food using sustainable and equitable practices, with a focus on opportunities for producers, distributors and communities that are systematically excluded and exploited by the current food system.
While FSI will not be a distinct initiative under the new strategy, the foundation will retain and advance the food system initiatives that align with the new organizational strategy. FSI’s transition approach will honor seven years of effective and impactful investments and partnerships while supporting and advancing the foundation’s new strategy. With the shift, elements of the FSI portfolio will transition to the Early Childhood team, some investments will continue under the foundation’s impact strategy (which includes program- and mission-related investments) and others will be responsibly sunsetted.
The FSI and Early Childhood teams have been working closely together to identify elements of the FSI portfolio that have a logical fit with Early Childhood priorities — those investments and programs that seek to advance the health of young children, parents, caregivers and early childhood professionals through healthy food access and nutrition education.
FSI is committed to working with partners that will no longer be funded as a result of this strategy shift through 2025 to build their organizational capacity and communicate the impact of their important work to other potential donors. Transition planning between the FSI and other foundation teams will continue through 2023.
Last, the Bainum Foundation Farm, a separate legal entity that has partnered with and been supported by FSI, has been vital in producing 160,000 pounds of fruits, vegetables and herbs in recent years for processors and distributors across the D.C. area. It will continue to operate independently as a limited liability company, or LLC, as part of the foundation’s Legacy Programs and will be launching its new strategy in the coming months.
The foundation’s Family Philanthropy team supports and oversees the giving programs established by our founders for subsequent generations of the family (currently, three generations), in addition to the philanthropic efforts of individual family members. Family Philanthropy carries forward the philanthropic commitment of the founders while allowing family members flexibility with the causes they support. The foundation’s organizational shift will have little effect on the programming that is funded by the family.
The Global Education Fund (GEF) was established by a Bainum family member to enhance access to quality early care and education for young children around the world. Since 2015, the GEF has supported two cohorts of grantees conducting multiyear projects in different countries of focus, primarily in the Africa and Asia regions.
Family Philanthropy carries forward the philanthropic commitment of our founders while allowing family members flexibility with the causes they support.
In the next phase of its funding, the GEF is prioritizing projects in which the work is driven more by and with local communities, with the goal of serving children and families as well as sharing knowledge and innovation. Several new initiatives are focused on home-based child care, including in refugee settings, because of the potential to increase equity. The GEF also is expanding its geographic scope, with projects now located across Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and Central America. It also continues to support globally focused organizations advocating for better early childhood policies and services and more public sector investment, as well as programs developing the next generation of early childhood leaders and advocates around the world.
The G3 Fund was established by Stewart Bainum Sr. for his grandchildren (generation three) to collectively engage in grant-making. This fund currently focuses on climate change and environmental justice and will be expanding its impact going forward with increased funding. Other work supported by Family Philanthropy includes the grant-making of multigenerational Family Fund Committee and family members engaged with early childhood partners on the West Coast.
The Family Philanthropy team is committed to working with partners in a way that aligns with the new organizational strategy. While family members continue to identify priority areas for funding, the team has fully embraced the concept of “yielding power,” deferring to partners’ experience and expertise about what communities need and how projects are implemented. Partners also are encouraged to take the lead on determining program outcomes and measurement. Some sub-initiatives are making longer-term commitments to partners by moving from one-year to multiyear contracts and grants. This commitment has given partners the ability to consider and pursue systemic outcomes that may require more time to achieve.