Who We Are

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The Irving Harris Foundation fuels ideas, leaders, and movements led by and for people most impacted by harm.


The values of the Foundation, inspired by our founder and his work, are infused in everything we do. We believe these values are critical to achieving progress toward our goals in a way that recognizes the contributions and value of all stakeholders and affirms our founder’s legacy.

Jewish values

Inspired by the beliefs of our founder, the Foundation has long been guided and nourished by Jewish values—especially the tradition of giving back to communities and the imperative to seek Tzedek or Justice. As it is written, Tzedek, Tzedek Tirdof, Justice, Justice you shall pursue.

IHF Statement on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (2017)

This statement reflects the Foundation’s historical work toward greater Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging as well as our aspirations for our growth and a better future. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with our partners to create a more just world for every baby, family. and community.

From his earliest days of giving, Irving Harris was driven by a deeply held belief that everyone should have the right to thrive. His grantmaking and philanthropic leadership were grounded in a sense of social justice, focused on closing the gaps between those who have more and those who have less. He inspired everyone around him to think big and act decisively when opportunities arose.

The work of the Irving Harris Foundation (IHF) is driven by a long-term commitment to the principles and approach of our founder. In that spirit, IHF has embraced and worked to advance Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) in our work. For IHF, DEIB is not a goal to be accomplished, but a reflective, intentional journey in which we are consistently striving toward more equitable policies, systems and communities. It demands that we recognize the legacy and impact of structural racism and the historic and contemporary oppression that has plagued our society and communities for centuries. It requires us to consider and account for the diverse experiences and statuses of people based on their race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, physical ability, religion and citizenship and socioeconomic status. It insists that we engage those most impacted community voices in priority- setting and decision-making processes. And it commands us to examine and shift the distribution of power and resources within systems and institutions in order to promote justice and fairness.

IHF has embedded elements of DEIB in our approach to grantmaking and leadership, in our relationships with partners and grantees, and in the way we build our team and culture. Over time we have examined our grant and leadership portfolios with an increasing emphasis on equity, but much remains to be done. We have engaged and supported grantees in their own internal DEIB efforts, including investing in leaders and approaches that advance DEIB, and reallocated resources to invest more in organizations that reflect and serve communities, families and individuals most affected by inequity. We have prioritized investing in grants that specifically address disparities in early childhood and reproductive health systems, as well as across our broader spectrum of grantmaking. And we have thoughtfully approached the hiring and retainment of more diverse staff as our team has grown. However, the journey continues as we seek to more deeply integrate equity into who we are and what we do.

Read Our Statement in Support of Black Lives Matter (2021)

We mourn the recent, countless and ongoing killings of Black people in our country. We share in the outrage against state sanctioned violence that devalues Black life, a symptom of the way that anti-Blackness is inherently part of this country’s systems, institutions, structures, and values.

We are in awe of the resilience and brilliance that our Black-led grantee partners are demonstrating in this moment. The re-building and re-imagining in this time is only made possible by the ways that Black-led grantee partners have been organizing for justice in the time leading up to now. Those who are impacted by racism have the answers, and so in this moment of reckoning, we need to listen to and follow Black leadership, share our power, and use our privilege to advance ideas and solutions identified by Black people. We stand with you.