F. M. Kirby Foundation Announces $12.9 Million in Grants

News and Stories

Sansay House – Morristown, New Jersey
F. M. Kirby Foundation

MORRISTOWN January 15, 2019

The F. M. Kirby Foundation Board of Trustees announced 222 core grants totaling $12.9 million were made in 2018 to nonprofit organizations working to foster self-reliance and create strong, healthy communities.

“Our grants have largely adhered to geographical areas of interest to the family and organizations associated with Board members, but we also support national programs across seven programmatic areas,” said Bill Byrnes, Vice President of Grants of the Morristown-based family foundation. “Notwithstanding our broad programmatic interests, it is our long-term relationships and commitment to provide unrestricted support, the life blood of any nonprofit, that reflects the strategic value of our grantmaking and typifies the Kirby family motto of “facta non verba” or “Deeds, not words.”

Some 95 grants totaling over $5.5 million were awarded to New Jersey-based nonprofit organizations working to make a direct impact on people’s lives throughout the state, 64 of which, totaling $3.4 million, supported work in Morris County, the Foundation’s home county. Additional grants totaling $7.4 million supported organizations in New York, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina, regions connected to Kirby family members, as well as national nonprofits largely based in Washington D.C. and New York City.

Foundation grants are made to nonprofit organizations in the arts and humanities, education, environment, health and medicine, human services, public policy, and religion. In an effort to review these giving strategies, the Board recently completed a three-year strategic plan and has reconfirmed these areas of focus moving forward.

“Over the past three years, our Board has gathered further insight with regard to the Foundation’s giving categories, grant portfolio risk, and internal capacity building,” S. Dillard Kirby, President, highlighted. “The current strategic plan logically builds upon these insights through the continued use of best practices as they apply to the grant review and evaluation process and further educational development for our Board and small staff team. The process provided the opportunity to reflect on our long-term partnerships that ground our mission; importantly, we’ve had relationships with over half of our grantees for at least 20 years and some for more than 50 years.”

In addition to the strategic planning efforts this past year, the Board participated in a comprehensive analysis of the Foundation’s environmental docket in which 28 grants totaling $1.2 million were awarded to organizations with missions addressing land preservation, conservation, and stewardship.

Other notable contributions include 65 grants totaling $3.8 million awarded to human services organizations serving various populations, including those experiencing homelessness or addiction, cancer patients and survivors, and youth and adults with disabilities; 15 grants to medical research organizations and investment in early-career scientists totaling $2.2 million; 43 education grants totaling $3.1 million to family-connected institutions and alternative education programs that expand school choice and strengthen traditional education approaches; and 29 arts, culture, and humanities grants totaling $1.1 million awarded to theatres, museums, and art education and cultural programs throughout New Jersey, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and New York.

About the F. M. Kirby Foundation:

The F. M. Kirby Foundation is headquartered in Morristown, New Jersey. Endowed in 1931 by Fred Morgan Kirby, one of the founders of the F.W. Woolworth Company, it was designed to continue in perpetuity through generations of the family. Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded nearly $750 million in grants. Five Kirby family members, currently spanning two generations, serve on the Board, as well as two non-family directors.