I’ve had many chapters in my life: I’ve been an award-winning journalist, an editor, an author, a board member, wife, and mother. But there has always been one constant: philanthropy and my longtime commitment to female empowerment, parity, and representation. My husband Beau, who after years of running businesses, has focused his philanthropic efforts on the environment and the health of the oceans.
Our personal missions and philanthropic efforts complement each other well and in 2018, we decided to make our charitable giving a top priority. We talk a lot about how fortunate we both feel: that we were born in this great country, grew up in the families that we did, were lucky to get wonderful educations, build careers that we have loved. Paying our good fortune forward has been a big part of our adult lives, but we saw an opportunity to make our charitable giving more structured and targeted.
We have always ascribed to the belief that there are 3 stages in life: that one should learn, earn, and return—and we decided we were ready to truly give back, which is why we launched the Hostetler/Wrigley Foundation.
So we approach our work with a start-up mentality, where going big and failing fast is better than not trying.
The foundation has evolved quickly in its short lifetime because one of our core tenants is to stay nimble. We’re curious people and have been lucky to meet some of the brightest minds working in their fields. The Kansas Abortion Fund has taught us how access to financing can ensure women’s reproductive rights. LiftFund helped us understand the power of microloans for underserved and overlooked entrepreneurs. Mobilizing quickly around COVID-19 showed us how we can provide assistance and respond rapidly, helping those who need it most.
Each conversation teaches us something new. We’re constantly evolving as philanthropists as we learn from those around us. We let a handful of principles guide our giving:
Collaborating with others to create new opportunities.
While we continue the slow march towards progress, inequality persists and injustice holds us all back as a society. Our efforts focus on generating momentum for those who are looking for opportunities, providing resources that can make the difference and help move them forward.
The H/W Approach: Grants go to organizations working to expand access and drive parity across the U.S.
Helping organizations that are able to sustain their impact.
We’re interested in helping organizations that can build scale and become self-sustaining, so they can continue being catalysts for others long after we are gone. Along with urgent acts of charitable giving, we prioritize efforts with the staying power to chip away at the inequities, and keep producing opportunities into the future.
The H/W Approach: Grantees must demonstrate potential for long-term impact.
Exploring unique ideas to address age-old problems.
Inventive thinking shouldn’t be limited to an app. It takes imagination to confront the forces that leave so many marginalized. So we approach our work with a start-up mentality, where going big and failing fast is better than not trying.
The H/W Focus: Grantees should present a new approach or address issues others have ignored.
Following facts to solutions with quick action.
Facts are at the baseline of our mission. They’re the backbone for all action and the deciding factor for every solution we support. Good data is the first step to real solutions. When we have it, we’re ready to run.
The H/W Approach: Data drives our work and organizations much present data and a proof-of-concept for support.
We’re taking the long-term approach. Looking at the kind of impact we can have now, but also in 20 or 30 years. This is work that will take the rest of our lives and hopefully carry on with our five children long after we are gone. We are inherently optimistic about humanity and our future. The philanthropic landscape is changing and the way that we as donors approach giving is evolving too. New and important causes will emerge in the future and we would like to stay agile to quickly and effectively help address them.
We hope to help make this nation a place where everyone is represented, welcome to participate, and equally valued for their unique contributions.
For now, we are focused exclusively on the United States. While we greatly admire the work that many outstanding foundations are engaged with globally, Beau and I feel a duty to our country and our citizens. We must fix the issues within our own country and for our own neighbors before we can help others. It’s difficult because there is such tremendous need out there, particularly right now, with so many deserving organizations and charitable endeavors, but this specific focus also allows for us to be more intimately involved with each issue or challenge we fund and to form long-term relationships with those to which we commit. While we acknowledge the depth and breadth of problems the world faces, we are focused on making our home a better and more equitable place
We started the foundation to lift people up and approach age-old problems in a contemporary way. We believe in momentum through equality of opportunities, which is why we provide resources to individuals and organizations with breakthrough ideas designed to make this nation a place where everyone is represented, welcome to participate, and equally valued for their unique contributions.