Wallace Foundation

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The Wallace Foundation
Formation2003 (2003)
Purposecharitable works and philanthropy
HeadquartersNew York City
Will Miller (as of July 2011)
11 members

The Wallace Foundation is a national philanthropy based in New York City that seeks to foster improvements in learning and enrichment for disadvantaged children and the vitality of the arts for everyone.[2] The foundation aims to develop knowledge about how to solve social problems, and promote widespread solutions based on that knowledge, by funding projects to test ideas, commissioning independent research to find out what works, and communicating the results to help practitioners, policymakers and leading thinkers.[3]


The Wallace Foundation began with the philanthropy of DeWitt and Lila Acheson Wallace, who together founded The Reader's Digest Association.[4] Drawing on the money they earned from the magazine, which they launched in 1922, the Wallaces contributed to a wide assortment of artistic, cultural and youth-serving causes. They died in the 1980s (Dewitt Wallace in 1981, Lila Wallace in 1984), leaving much of their fortune to four private foundations they had created in their lifetimes.[5] In 2003 a single national foundation, The Wallace Foundation, emerged from the consolidation of these private foundations.[6]

Major initiatives[edit]

The Wallace Foundation has five major initiatives underway:

  • School Leadership: For more than a decade, Wallace has been working with states and school districts to develop better ways to train, hire, support and evaluate principals and other key figures in schools.[7][8]
  • Afterschool: Wallace supports efforts in a group of cities to coordinate the work of municipal agencies, schools, youth-serving nonprofits and other institutions vital to afterschool in order to generate ideas about how to improve the quality of programs and make better use of data.[9]
  • Arts Education: Since 2005, Wallace has been working with school districts and nonprofits to test ways to engage more young people in high-quality arts learning during the school day and beyond.[10]
  • Summer and Expanded Learning: Wallace seeks to better understand the impact of high-quality summer learning programs on disadvantaged children, as well as how to enrich and expand the school day in ways that benefit students.[11]
  • Audience Development for the Arts: Wallace supports the development and testing of innovative ideas to reach new audiences so that many more people might enjoy the benefits of the arts.[12][13]


  1. ^ "People" on the Wallace Foundation website
  2. ^ "Mission" on the Wallace Foundation website
  3. ^ DeVita, M, Christine. "Power of Ideas: How Foundations Can Generate Knowledge to Spark Change" Rand Corporation website (Winter 2010-2011)
  4. ^ West, Melanie Grayce. "Financial Know-How for Nonprofits Online" Wall Street Journal (February 18, 2013)
  5. ^ "The Wallace Foundation: A Brief History" on the Wallace Foundation website
  6. ^ "College: Wallace Foundation Mission Statement" on The New York Times website
  7. ^ "How to Train and Retain Great Principals in Struggling Urban Schools" PBS NewsHour (August 29, 2013)
  8. ^ Miller, William I. "Why Bridges Matter" American Academy 2011 Induction Ceremony Presentations p.8
  9. ^ Berg, Nate "5 Ways Data Can Save After-School Programs" The Atlantic City Lab (June 7, 2012)
  10. ^ Drymalski, Nick. "Wallace Gives $1.8 Million For Arts Education" Youth Today (January 1, 2009)
  11. ^ Rich, Motoko. "At Retooled Summer Schools, Creativity, Not Just Catch-Up" The New York Times (June 30, 2013)
  12. ^ "The Wallace Foundation Major Initiatives" on the Wallace Foundation website
  13. ^ Smee, Sebastian. "Wallace Foundation salutes Gardner Museum and BLO" Boston Globe (January 31, 2012)