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Funders Forum

Robert W. Woodruff Foundation

May 2012

The Atlanta-based Robert W. Woodruff Foundation, whose history is tied to the Coca-Cola Company, primarily supports nonprofits located and operating in Georgia. The foundation's president, Russ Hardin, recently became the Foundation Center's new board chair. The Foundation Center asked him:

Question How does your experience as a current board member of three corporations serve you in your work as president of four foundations, and what would you like your colleagues in the field to know about particular strategies that the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation has found helpful in pursuing its chosen program areas?

Answer "My corporate board service has been quite useful to me and beneficial to the foundations I serve. At Northwestern Mutual, for instance, I glean insights on governance and investments from one of the most admired companies in the world. In my role as trustee or director, I hope I can deliver value through my own knowledge of charitable giving and the community as well as my legal and investment experience.

"The principal biography of Robert W. Woodruff is titled Mr. Anonymous. The Woodruff Foundation continues to operate in a manner consistent with Mr. Woodruff's values and style. That is, we intentionally deflect attention to our grantees; we do not issue press releases; and we do not publish annual reports. However, we recognize and embrace our responsibility to operate in a transparent manner and to help potential grantees understand our mission, priorities, and guidelines. The Foundation Center helps us meet that responsibility and need. Thus, we have provided financial support and leadership to the Foundation Center for years. The Foundation Center plays a fundamental role in our sector and earns our support every day.

"Among large foundations, the Woodruff Foundation might be viewed as a little contrarian. We are geographically focused on our city and state, and we are unabashedly responsive in our grantmaking. Our strategy and fundamental philosophy is to invest in "other people's ideas." The wisdom of experience has taught us that generally we accomplish more when we invest in inspired and capable leadership than when we seek applicants to pursue our own ideas or solutions. That style has the ancillary benefit of allowing us to operate with minimal bureaucracy and overhead costs."

Funder's Forum: Donor Profiles

The Cooper Foundation
November 2014

The National Grid Foundation
October 2014

The Endeavor Foundation
September 2014

The Commonwealth Fund
August 2014

Teagle Foundation
July 2014

Robert R. McCormick Foundation
June 2014

Bush Foundation
May 2014

The Kresge Foundation
April 2014

The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation
March 2014

Rauch Foundation
February 2014

Stavros Niarchos Foundation
January 2014

The Louis Calder Foundation
December 2013

The Bella Vista Foundation
November 2013

The Skillman Foundation
October 2013

Rosenberg Foundation
September 2013

The Pittsburgh Foundation
August 2013

Saint Luke's Foundation
July 2013

The Sobrato Family Foundation
June 2013

W.K. Kellogg Foundation
March 2013

Trustees' Philanthropy Fund, Fidelity Charitable
February 2013

The Duke Endowment
January 2013

The Beazley Foundation
October 2012

The Colcom Foundation
September 2012

The Clark Foundation
August 2012

The Hyde and Watson Foundation
July 2012

Annie E. Casey Foundation
June 2012

Robert W. Woodruff Foundation
May 2012

Markle Foundation
March 2012

The Commonwealth Fund
February 2012

The Burroughs Wellcome Fund
January 2012

Posner-Wallace Foundation
December 2011

Public Welfare Foundation
November 2011

Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies
October 2011

Walter & Elise Haas Fund
September 2011

Alcoa Foundation
August 2011

Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation
July 2011

The Cleveland Foundation
June 2011

Fannie E. Rippel Foundation
May 2011

The California Wellness Foundation
April 2011

Jerome Foundation
March 2011

Lumina Foundation
for Education

February 2011

Charles Stewart
Mott Foundation

January 2011

Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
December 2010

M. J. Murdock
Charitable Trust

December 2010

Surdna Foundation
October 2010

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