About Us

Our Mission

Our mission is to maximize the leverage of philanthropic dollars, time and effort through the pursuit of two strategies:

  • to increase philanthropic resources by supporting organizations, programs and projects that serve primarily to encourage philanthropy, public service and/or volunteerism; and
  • to increase philanthropic impact by encouraging and supporting long-term collaborations among nonprofits working in the same or complementary areas in order to increase efficiency and/or impact and to reduce duplication of efforts, and the adoption of other sound business practices.

Our Grant Philosophy

The Lodestar Foundation is focused in our grantmaking and will consider funding only organizations, projects and programs that further our mission.  Moreover, our grants are designed to leverage the Lodestar Foundation’s assets to the fullest extent possible. Not only do we try to maximize strategic impact by focusing on projects that support systemic changes in the way nonprofits conduct business, we often leverage our funds by establishing challenge and matching grant requirements which may be applicable to our grantees and their boards as well as third parties. We generally require our grantees to report to us periodically for at least two years after funding to let us know how the grant has impacted their work.

In addition to making direct grants, the Lodestar Foundation also engages in field-building activities to build knowledge and to educate others in the areas of philanthropy and collaboration.

Strategic Funding Areas

PHILANTHROPY

To implement our strategy of encouraging philanthropy, the Lodestar Foundation focuses on advancing the cause of philanthropy broadly and building the general field of volunteerism.  We do not support place-based or issue-based philanthropic programs; rather, we focus on advancing the concept of philanthropy across major constituencies in the sector.  Our grants supporting volunteerism are limited to broad-based national and international efforts that promote volunteerism, and therefore we do not make grants to individual nonprofits to enhance their volunteer programs.  We support donor networks as well as nonprofits that primarily exist to encourage philanthropy, volunteerism or public service generally for the public good.

COLLABORATION

The Lodestar Foundation supports those nonprofits that have made the joint decision to explore and/or implement permanent relationships. We support sustained collaborations in all forms, ranging from joint programming to administrative consolidations (sharing office space and/or services) to mergers and acquisitions to associations and confederations.

To see collaboration in action, here are two videos for viewing. The first video, funded by Lodestar, describes a unique and powerful form of collective action that has been effectively utilized in armed conflicts around the world and can be applied to many other issues best resolved through collaboration. See it  here.  The second video illustrates the power of networking with others. In fact, Lodestar received a “First Follower” award from Social Venture Partners (SVP) International, an international philanthropy network that Lodestar inadvertently founded when we started the second-ever SVP (copying the very successful SVP Seattle) and which now consists of more than 40 affiliates in 8 countries.  See it here.

Our Grants

For ease of access, we have divided our grants into categories:  Philanthropy Grants; Collaboration Grants; Exceptional Grants; and Special Projects We also have a list of all grants made by the Lodestar family of foundations. We encourage you to review descriptions of our grants by clicking here.

Representative Grants

For ease of access, we have divided our grants into the categories listed below. We encourage you to review descriptions of The Lodestar Foundation grants by clicking on the links below.  Certain grants are marked with an asterisk (*); they are considered our signature grants and also are listed on a separate page entitled “Signature Grants.”

Representative Grants

For ease of access, we have divided our grants into the categories listed below. We encourage you to review descriptions of The Lodestar Foundation grants by clicking on the links below.  Certain grants are marked with an asterisk (*); they are considered our signature grants and also are listed on a separate page entitled “Signature Grants.”

Philanthropy Grants
  • Capacity-building
  • Volunteerism
  • Public Service
Signature Grants
Collaboration Grants
  • Infrastructure
  • Operational Support
  • Research & Education
Special Projects
Philanthropy Grants
  • Capacity-building
  • Volunteerism
  • Public Service
Signature Grants
Collaboration Grants
  • Infrastructure
  • Operational Support
  • Research & Education
Special Projects
Philanthropy Grants
  • Capacity-building
  • Volunteerism
  • Public Service
Collaboration Grants
  • Infrastructure
  • Operational Support
  • Research & Education
Special Projects
Signature Grants

To see the full extent of Lodestar grantmaking, explore a complete list of our grantees.

To see the full extent of Lodestar grantmaking, explore a complete list of our grantees.

OUR GRANTS

For ease of access, we have divided our grants into categories:  Philanthropy Grants; Collaboration Grants; Exceptional Grants; and Special Projects We also have a list of all grants made by the Lodestar family of foundations. We encourage you to review descriptions of our grants by clicking here.

Our People

Jerry Hirsch
Chairman
Lois Savage
President
Cathy Lake
Vice President of Programs
Bonnie Fujii
Grants Manager
Abby Dockum
Website & Research Manager

In addition, we strategically engage consultant expertise on an as-needed basis.

Our Name

One of the challenges in starting a new enterprise is finding the right name to reflect the essence of the organization. In 1999, as we were forming the foundation, we read through an entire dictionary searching for the perfect name; it was there that we discovered the word “lodestar.” “Lodestar” has two meanings: first, it’s the guiding star that is used as a point of reference for sailors in navigation, and, secondly, and more generally, it is something that serves as a model, inspiration or guiding principle. We subsequently learned that “lodestar” has a third meaning in Arizona history; the “lodestar” was the first shining glint of ore, uncovered by miners, that foreshadowed striking a rich vein of ore in the mine. Applying any of these three definitions, it seems the perfect name for the below-listed family of foundations that were formed to inspire and guide us to find happiness through philanthropy.

  • The Lodestar Foundation
  • The Lodestar Charitable Foundation
  • The Lodestar Jewish Donor Advised Fund
  • The Lodestar Foundation Fund

Our Geographic Focus

While The Lodestar Foundation is based in Phoenix, Arizona, and a number of our grants support local nonprofits, we are opportunity-driven and our grantmaking is national and international.  We constantly seek opportunities that are aligned with our mission and strategies and that include funding partners to participate with us.

Follow this link to view our Grants.