Ploughshares Fund

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Ploughshares Fund logo 2.png
Established 1981
Exec. Dir. Naila Bolus
Founder Sally Lilienthal (1919 - 2006)
President Joseph Cirincione
Chairman Roger Hale
Headquarters San Francisco, CA, USA

The Ploughshares Fund is a public grantmaking foundation that supports initiatives to prevent the spread and use of nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and other weapons of war, and to prevent conflicts that could lead to the use of weapons of mass destruction. Ploughshares is a 501(c)(3) foundation that pools contributions from individuals, families and foundations. With over 100 million dollars awarded in grants since its founding in 1981, Ploughshares Fund is the largest U.S. philanthropic foundation focused exclusively on peace and security grantmaking.[1]


Concerned about the world’s burgeoning nuclear arsenals, San Francisco philanthropist and activist Sally Lilienthal founded the organization in 1981. Ploughshares enables individual contributors to pool resources and provide support for the most effective initiatives to prevent the spread and use of nuclear weapons. Since it was founded, Ploughshares has made grants totaling nearly 100 million to hundreds of people and organizations around the world, becoming the largest grantmaking foundation in the U.S. whose exclusive mission is peace and security funding.[1][2][3]

Ploughshares Fund gave grants for the vulnerability to theft of nuclear weapons and fissile material following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991; the changing nature of armed conflict after the Cold War; emerging challenges to the nonproliferation regime; and the geopolitical upheavals in the wake of the September 11th, 2001 attacks.[citation needed]

Ploughshares Fund works to directly influence public policy on weapons and security. The Fund’s strategies include providing start-up funding for peace and security entrepreneurs; granting emergency funding to meet urgent needs; supporting advocacy programs; influencing public opinion through the media; making grants internationally; and building grassroots leadership.[citation needed]

Sally Lilienthal died in October 2006, at the age of 87, while still serving as Ploughshares Fund's president.[4] In 2008 the Board of Directors appointed Joseph Cirincione as Ploughshares Fund's president.[5]

Issue areas

Ploughshares Fund’s grantmaking is focused on the following issues:

  • Nuclear Weapons
  • Nuclear Materials
  • Missiles and Space
  • Conflict Prevention[2][6]

Notable grants

In addition to many other grants over the years, Ploughshares has funded the following work:

  • An early grant enabled scientists at the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Soviet Academy of Scientists to prove a nuclear test ban could be verified, thereby removing one of the last hurdles standing in the way of a test ban treaty.[3]
  • A coalition of grassroots organizations supported by Ploughshares Fund led environmental challenges that halted the production of nuclear weapons in the United States.[citation needed]
  • The Arms Control Advocacy Collaborative, co-founded by Ploughshares Fund and the Steven and Michele Kirsch Foundation, led a legislative advocacy campaign to stop the development of a new generation of nuclear weapons.[8]
  • The Peace and Security Initiative, involving members of advocacy organizations, think tanks, funders and activists, increased members' capacity to influence U.S. policy to promote a more secure, peaceful and just world.[citation needed]

See also

External links


  1. ^ a b Nuclear Nightmares: Securing the World Before It Is Too Late, Joseph Cirincione, Appendix F
  2. ^ a b Nuclear Shadowboxing: Cold War Redux, A. DeVolpi.
  3. ^ a b c Plowshare Funds, Discover the Networks
  4. ^ Sally Lilienthal
  5. ^ Q&A: JOSEPH CIRINCIONE, President of PLOUGHSHARES FUND and Author
  6. ^ The Politics of Space Security, James Moltz, page viii
  7. ^ They Were Giants 2008, Patrick Yearly
  8. ^ Arms Control Advocacy Collaborative, Kirsch Foundation