The new year was a big occasion for us at Proteus Fund, because 2019 marks our 25th Anniversary.
And even in such a tenuous and threatening moment for our communities and our country, we plan to commemorate our anniversary in a way that serves as both a powerful reminder and learning moment around the experiences and the work we’ve gone through together, and a catalyzing moment to enhance our collective capacity to help create significant and lasting impact.
The field of social justice philanthropy has evolved significantly over the past quarter century, and we are proud of the role we’ve played in moving the sector towards a more collaborative and strategic place. We will be celebrating our 25th Anniversary throughout this year by sharing stories, memories, and reflections with all of you on our website. Please check back often.
Proteus Fund was founded in 1994 by Meg Gage. Before Proteus, Meg had spent over a decade as co-founder and Executive Director of Peace Development Fund, a pioneer in mobilizing philanthropic dollars to advance peace and security work. Proteus Fund was an extension of this model: a way to pool funding and align strategy among multiple funders in service of significant social change objectives and a broad vision for change in the philanthropic sector.
In 2019, intermediaries are an indispensable part of social justice philanthropy – many of you likely work with Borealis, NEO, RPA, Tides and others, as well as working with us. But in the early 1990s, intermediaries were a new and untested concept. The creation of donor collaboratives shrank the distance between funders and advocates and created spaces for development of aligned strategies both between funders as well as among funders and grantees. At Proteus Fund, we have further evolved our donor collaboratives into expert-level leaders at both state and national level funding, key informational resources for the sector, drivers of bold new strategic initiatives, and facilitators of highly effective rapid response grantmaking efforts.
Proteus Fund has hosted donor collaboratives since our founding, beginning with Piper Fund, which has played a key role in the protection of democracy for over twenty years. We have also managed family foundations and hosted Donor Advised Funds since 1997 and have offered fiscal sponsorship since 2005. As our organization has grown, our lens has broadened. We have expanded from our roots in Massachusetts to now working both nationally and internationally. We began with a sharp focus on peace and democracy issues, and have since expanded to also support critical work on key human rights issues and movements, such as LGBTQ, gender, and racial justice and, importantly, the intersections across these communities and issues as well.
We want to extend special gratitude to the hundreds of partners that have worked with us over the years, especially those who have been with us since the very beginning.
And to the many partners who have begun working with us in the last few years, we are excited to share some of our history with you, as we embark together on Proteus Fund’s next twenty-five years.
Paul Di Donato – President and CEO, Proteus Fund
Jason Franklin, PhD – Chair, Board of Directors, Proteus Fund