Swift Foundation was incorporated shortly after United Parcel Service went public in 1999. For the first time in 92 years shares of stock were offered to the public and the founder, John Swift, chose to diversify family-held ownership by creating a foundation. John has long been a committed supporter of organizations with a global focus on protecting the environment, investing in community wellbeing, and promoting sustainable agriculture. For the next ten years, Swift Foundation focused on environmental conservation around the world.
In 2009, Swift Foundation tripled in size with the proceeds from another family foundation. At this time, John invited his daughters Sonja and Karen to join the board, launching a new chapter for the foundation with an expansion of the mission toward a bio-cultural framework that respects Indigenous peoples as crucial leaders in protecting biodiversity, or in other words, people’s beloved home territories.
This also led to a radical revision of how the foundation managed the endowment, leading to Swift Foundation’s first mission-related investment policy and subsequent work toward greater coherency and accountability in how the investments align with the mission.
The board is committed to widening the circle further and is grateful for the guidance and wisdom that a broader range of perspectives offers. To this end, we maintain a practice of inviting visiting advisors, often grantee-partners, to each board meeting to enrich and strengthen the programming work and for greater transparency.