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History

The Stanley Foundation and its work grow out of a Midwestern family’s commitment to advance a world in which there is a secure peace with freedom and justice.

C. Maxwell and Elizabeth M. Stanley created the Stanley Foundation in 1956. Max Stanley was a professional engineer, businessman, and world citizen.  His deep interest in global security and international organizations in an increasingly interdependent world were reflected in his extensive writing and speaking. Betty Stanley shared her husband’s interest in world affairs. She supported the arts, encouraged environmental responsibility, and worked to improve education.

From the outset, the foundation was intended to have family members deeply engaged in its governance and policy direction. The initial Board of Directors consisted of the two founders and their children. Max Stanley served as president until his death in 1984. He was succeeded by the founders’ son, Richard H. Stanley, also a professional engineer, businessman, and world citizen. Dick served as president until 2007 and continues as board chair.

Programming began modestly. Policy work started in 1960 with the Strategy for Peace Conference. The first Conference on the United Nations of the Next Decade was held in 1965, the 20th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. The first paid staff member was hired in 1967. Project Enrichment, the initial community-education program, began in local Muscatine, Iowa, schools in 1971. Over the years, programming has grown and changed, guided by periodic reviews and adjustments, to sharpen focus and address developing needs and opportunities.

In 1989, a two-tier governance structure was installed to facilitate increased family and community involvement in governance. Selected community or non-family members were added to bring needed perspectives and skills to foundation governance, supplementing those provided by growing numbers of family members. The first community member joined the board in 1996. Family members now hold more than two-thirds of the governance positions.  Most of these are third-generation, but fourth-generation participation is beginning. In 1999, the position of board chair was created so that the president could be a paid staff position while retaining a voluntary unpaid chair. The first paid president was elected in 2007.

The Stanley Foundation advocates principled multilateralism in the conduct of world affairs. It supports a global governance system based on laws, rules, and norms that can address pressing global challenges in peace and security. It interacts actively with governments, international institutions, and non-state actors. It maintains a long-term, independent, and nonpartisan perspective while promoting collaborative approaches and multilateral solutions.

The foundation is a private operating foundation that works from its Muscatine office. It carries out its own programming and does not make grants to others. It often collaborates with other organizations that share common goals. Governance, finances, and leadership are managed to maintain continuity.
 


FROM THE ARCHIVES: The Spring 1980 issue of The Iowan included a profile of our founders, C. Maxwell and Elizabeth M. Stanley, titled “Citizens of the World: The Stanleys of Muscatine.”
HIGHLIGHTS
2017 International Women Authors Event 2017 International Women Authors Event
Pulitzer Prize finalist Laila Lalami, author of “The Moor’s Account,” will be the featured speaker at the 2017 International Women Authors event on November 9 in Rock Island, Illinois.

Courier Courier
As summer winds down, take a look at the new issue of Courier from the Stanley Foundation. The Summer 2017 issue delves into topics including the transition away from coal in Germany, the increased role of cities in global governance, and the crisis in Venezuela. Also in this issue, read about the increased capabilities of 3D printing, and oversight over emerging technologies. Summer 2017 PDF (1,151K) Subscribe for FREE.

Stanley Foundation Annual Conferences Stanley Foundation Annual Conferences
The Stanley Foundation holds two annual conferences, UN Issues and the Strategy for Peace Conference. These bring together experts from the public and private sectors to meet in a distraction-free setting and candidly exchange ideas on pressing foreign policy challenges.

Divided into roundtable talks, the cutting-edge discussions are intended to inspire group consensus and shared recommendations to push forward the debate on the foundation’s key policy areas.


A Climate for Conflict: Stories from Somalia A Climate for Conflict: Stories from Somalia
The Ground Truth Project, New America, and the Stanley Foundation are hosting a Screening of “A Climate for Conflict” and discussion with the creators followed by a panel discussion on Climate Security and Societal Resilience on May 30, 2017.

Somalia today is at a crossroads between a deepening crisis and a path to stability. Photographer and filmmaker Nichole Sobecki and writer Laura Heaton spent 18 months documenting personal stories of Somalia, creating a film, photography, and reporting that vividly illustrate the human consequences and security risks of a changing climate. Read more.

Follow the conversation online with #AClimateforConflict.


Stanley Foundation at 60
On December 12, 1956, the Stanley Foundation was certified as a nonprofit corporation in the state of Iowa, bringing to life an organization dedicated to creating a world in which there is a secure peace with freedom and justice. Sixty years later, the organization continues to pursue and advance that vision as a thriving nonpartisan operating foundation. Moreover, it remains an organization with a professional staff and the involvement of family members who have an ongoing role in shaping its strategy and core values. More.

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You will also find many extras, from upcoming events to multimedia resources. Sign up for the latest to stay engaged on key global issues.


Watch and Learn Watch and Learn
Stanley Foundation events, talks, video reports, and segments from our Now Showing event-in-a-box series can now be viewed on YouTube. To receive regular updates on our video posts, please subscribe today.