About Us

About Us

For more than four decades, the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation has sought to uphold the values that inspired the Clark family to create it.

In our work with grantees and with each other, EMCF strives to live up to and put into action five core values:  

Humility – The work we do is first and foremost about our grantees —strengthening them to better accomplish what they do. We admit when we make mistakes, or when our efforts fail. We expect the same from those with whom we work. We do not seek to make a name for ourselves in philanthropy; there is no room for ego in our work.

Belief in People – We invest in people because we believe in them and in their vision. We also believe our grantees know best what they need to do to meet their goals. Our effectiveness as a grantmaker rests on their informed judgment and ability to execute. We also believe in each other—as staff and board members.

Pragmatism – We accept the limitations of what we can achieve, given the extent of our resources. We strive to set realistic goals—for both our grantees and ourselves. We are prepared to shift course when necessary to ensure the effectiveness of our grantmaking.

Trust – We trust our grantees and ourselves to carry out the work they and we do and to use the Foundation’s resources with integrity, honesty, and with a focus on results. We do what we can to support our grantees and each other. We challenge, but we do not second-guess.

High Standards – We hold ourselves and our grantees to the highest possible standards, and strive for excellence in everything we do.

The Principles That Guide Our Work

  • To ensure that the Foundation’s resources are put to effective use every day;
  • To stick with our strategies and grantees long enough to see results, but always to be prepared to change course if results could be better achieved in other ways;
  • To deliver a funding experience to grantees that is realistic in execution, outstanding in its helpfulness and of the highest possible quality;
  • To share what we do and what we learn with others as honestly as we can;
  • To maintain and cherish the simple, no-nonsense, practical and friendly spirit of the Foundation.

Ensuring that EMCF still addresses the concerns and follows the principles of its founders, two of their grandchildren—H. Lawrence Clark and James McConnell Clark, Jr.—serve on the Foundation’s board of trustees