The Marcus Foundation
The Marcus Foundation
Advancing Sustainability and
Enhancing Community Food Resources

Values and Strategy

Our funding and partnering approach focuses on meeting short-term critical needs and addressing underlying system-wide challenges. In both cases The Marcus Foundation seeks partners and grantees – organizations and foundations – that are looking for opportunities to explore new ventures, and bringing creative thinking to their work. Specifically, we work with organizations committed to developing innovative approaches to sustainability and community food resources. Our values include:

  • Change and Support: We value efforts that further systemic change and those that provide immediate responses to critical needs in our communities
  • Communication and Collaboration: We believe in the effective and timely exchange of information and the usefulness of collaboration that is both efficient and creative
  • Listening and Partnership: We value the sharing of ideas, resources and initiatives, and we seek partnerships that leverage the assets and skills of all participants

Our focus on hunger stems from the fundamental reality that hungry people aren’t able to focus on anything else until this basic human need is satisfied. Unmet, this need undermines our communities and deprives our children of the ability to learn while at school. It forces our older citizens to choose between heat, medicine and food. This was clearly articulated in the 19th century by Ballington Booth, the founder of Volunteers of America in his statement: “You cannot talk to a man about God (or we believe, anything else) when he is hungry..." In 1943 Abraham Maslow captured this truth as part of the “Hierarchy of Needs” asserting that the basic needs of food and shelter must be met before humans can move towards the higher goals of education, family, employment and “self-actualization."

Our emphasis on sustainability is rooted in the awareness that we are all stewards of a world that will soon be passed on to the next generation, as a prior generation passed on to us our world. While the definition of sustainability has evolved over the decades since being introduced in 1987, by the UN World Commission on Environment and Development in the Bruntland Report, at its core it remains a principle of intergenerational equity. Sustainability is the imperative that we consider long-term consequences of our actions and behavior. Distilled to its essence, sustainability requires us to “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Strategically, we believe immediate and critical needs must be addressed, while also working to change the fundamental incentives and dynamics that cause these problems. Whether in business practices, environmental advocacy, or agricultural methods, sustainability is a prism that can generate new perspectives. It can be and must be the driving force that challenges us to live responsibly.