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Independence Foundation


Last profile update: 12/27/2017
Last grant data update: 02/03/2018

At A Glance

Independence Foundation

200 S. Broad St., Ste. 1101

Philadelphia, PA United States 19102-3802

Telephone: (215) 985-4009


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation






Established in 1932 as International Cancer Research Foundation; incorporated as Donner Foundation in 1945 in DE; divided in 1961 into Independence Foundation and a newly formed William H. Donner Foundation - The foundation was founded in 1932 by steel maker William H. Donner, who wanted to spur cancer research after the death of his son in 1929. The first charter, founding the International Cancer Research Foundation with assets of $2 million, was dedicated to cancer and medical research. By the end of the Second World War, Mr. Donner recognized that government would dominate medical research and he pulled his foundation back from this area, changing its name to the Donner Foundation. William Donner died in 1954 at the age of 96 and the directorate fell to his children and grandchildren. The Independence Foundation funded secondary education through scholarships, endowments and a school loan program, as well as supporting local cultural and arts organizations. In 1988, the foundation changed its focus to nursing education through scholarships and endowments to Schools of Nursing across the country. Since 1993, the foundation's focus has continued to be in the healthcare field, supporting initiatives in community-based nurse managed health care in neighborhoods where services are not traditionally available

Purpose and Activities

The foundation's mission is to support organizations that provide services to people who do not ordinarily have access to them. The current funding agenda includes the following areas of interest: nurse managed health care, culture and the arts, public interest legal services, and health and human services, with special focus on food distribution, housing for the homeless, and services which help people with disabilities to lead independent lives. The foundation also has two special initiatives: Public Interest Law Fellowships and Fellowships for Visual and Performing Artists.