Turning Points 2017

Year in Review

Message from our CEO

Making meaningful change requires a long view and a steady focus. It is essential to have a crystal-clear vision—a North Star—as a guide. So when we are contemplating significant next steps with our organization, I ask our staff, “What is our North Star here? What will help guide us in this situation?”

A fundamental North Star for the Kenneth Rainin Foundation is our values. With every program and every decision, our team carefully considers potential impacts and implications, collaborates with the best partners we can find, and seeks ways to extend our impact through leverage whenever possible.

Last year, we added “equity” as an explicit value, defining it in terms of approaching everything we do with honesty and fairness. From the first days of the Foundation, we embraced this value implicitly and wove it into the fabric of our organization. Equity requires us to take differences into account to ensure that everyone has a chance to succeed. But we can no longer take it for granted. By saying it out loud, we’ve added our voice to a growing chorus of people who are concerned with the current direction of our nation. These concerns transcend politics. Through the many troubling developments our nation has seen in the last year, there is optimism inherent in how people are coming together to change things for the better.

Jennifer Rainin, PhD
Chief Executive Officer

Another of our values, innovation, rewards creativity and risk-taking. I am often asked about my tolerance for risk. I’ve come to think of risk in terms of “promise,” and I believe it embraces both commitment and possibility. Perhaps more important for us is this question: What is the risk if, no matter what, we will learn something that informs the field and how we move forward?

I believe that the real risk is not trying.

So, fellow funders, I invite you to join us in redefining risk and what it means in philanthropy. We are also eager to strengthen and explore new cross-sector partnerships. And to our grantees, we are more committed than ever to our three giving areas and your incredible work. Your ideas and insights are always welcome, and essential to ensuring our best work for you.

The path before us is lit with possibility and promise—much like a North Star. Whether you are new to us or a long-term grantee or partner, thank you for traveling with us. We are grateful for your inspired companionship on this journey.

Jennifer Rainin, PhD
Chief Executive Officer

“What is the risk if we will learn something that informs the field and how we move forward?”

Jennifer Rainin, PhD, Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, grantees and partners, for an exceptional year!