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Free, Fair & Healthy

Free people in fair societies on a healthy planet. That’s our ambition. It’s a little lofty, but that’s what we love: it’s a perfectly grand vision for a small foundation built from buttercat money.

We think mighty-fine philanthropy sees abundance, not scarcity. It chooses movement over money. Giving over hoarding. It thrives on the unexpected. It rewards risk-takers and rebels — which is lucky for us, because sometimes we like to stir up trouble.

Here’s some more stuff we believe:

Endowment isn’t everything.

We can have a greater impact by using all our money for catalytic change now instead of doling out modest grants indefinitely. That’s why we’re spending our entire endowment. We’re trading organizational immortality for a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make waves that will reverberate forever. It’s a different kind of perpetuity, and we call it “spending up.”

What we leave ahead matters most.

We’re not in a hurry to finish a bunch of projects so we can list what we’ve accomplished. We’re more interested in how our work plays out through others after we exit stage left: how they’ll mix and remix our collective work to power us all toward a free, fair and healthy future. We hope what we “leave ahead” will be greater than anything we could possibly leave behind.

Silos are for cows. (Wait, what?)

Someone on our team actually said this once. Of course silos are for grain, not cows, but her point was they’re not meant for foundation programs either. Social issues don’t exist in isolation and their solutions can’t be developed there. Effective strategies for change are organic and free ranging.

Happy accidents happen.

Some of our best work has come from following strong instincts and trusted leaders down ambiguous paths, deliberately making way for the unexpected. After all, our tag line is “full tilt idealism,” not “produce year-end metrics.”

The world needs more "full tilt."

“Don,” as in Quixote, is our shorthand for strong beliefs, relentless caring, high spirits, and the obstinate pursuit of free people in fair societies on a healthy planet. We are Quixote Foundation, and we hope we’ll inspire others to tap their inner “Don” and share our mission. Because frankly, we don’t have the time to force them.



Quixote Foundation — The First 5 Billion Years

Animation by Big Tada Inc / Screenplay by Keneta Anderson / Watch on Vimeo


Spending Up

This is an adventure story.

You might have heard of “sunsetting” or “spending down,” terms that are used when a foundation decides to spend all of its endowment. Most foundations don’t do that. Instead, they give away a small percentage of their money each year, invest the rest and stay in business forever.

But we’re all in! Between now and 2017 Quixote Foundation will spend everything. There’s no waiting around for a mission like ours, so we’re investing in action instead of stocks and bonds. We call it “spending up” because putting the money to work fulfills our purpose. (We thought of calling it “Crazy Don’s ‘Every-Grant-Must-Go’ Sale,” but it’s not really a sale and our Don mustache kept falling off during the infomercial.)

What we support

Our funding and energies are devoted to five passionate convictions:

We all need independent media and an open, accessible Internet to inform our opinions, find opportunities, participate in society and contribute to democracy.

Every vote and every voter has to count. When people believe their voices have power, they'll help shape our country and defend our rights.

Informed, private, compassionate reproductive health care is a basic human right. It’s good for individuals, families and the planet.

Everyone has a stake in the environment — a tangible, personal interest in protecting its health.

Each of us is responsible for breaking the culture of white supremacy with our voice, money and actions. This is our shared work until everyone is free.

Quixote Foundation collaborates with others who share these beliefs. Together, we work toward change at the level of systems and policies (which is a barrel of monkeys one day and a can of worms the next). We love mixology so you might see us fund a media collaborative for reproductive rights work, or a racial justice organization for environmental think-tankery.

Grants & Grantees

Here's where you can follow the money. This listing is searchable, so knock yourselves out! Please keep in mind we don't accept unsolicited requests, proposals, inquiry letters, phone calls, email or text messages, blimp banners, kaffeeklatsches or even candygrams, because we're already committed to a giving strategy.


Team Q

Quixote Foundation is run by a staff and governed by a board of directors. We also hang out regularly with a handful of consultants and core grantees. Working with this informal team expands our capacity and perspectives. Here’s the cast of characters:

Guardian Stuart Hanisch (1932–2002), Founder. Spent a lifetime's energy and wealth defending the rights of others, discovered a muse for the foundation in Don Quixote, is an important presence in all our work. Thank you, Stuart.

Generator Erik Hanisch, Board President. Volunteers as chief visionary and financial officer, has brainstorms that lead to some of our best work, carries the founder’s legacy forward with love and profound commitment.

Mixologist Lenore Hanisch, Board Member and Senior Director of Engagement and Partnerships. Mixes interest areas, advocates and donors into one big catalytic cocktail; believes in the productive power of sharing food, conversation and laughter.

Manifestor June Wilson, Board Member and Executive Director. Choreographs our movements, brings physical and emotional awareness to our work, keeps us excited and holds us accountable for living the values we claim.

Challenger Keneta Anderson, consultant for organizational development, strategy, brand and communication; liaison to the Election Verification Network. Distills diverse ideas and pushes our boundaries, oversees the brand and writes as the voices of “QuixoteTilts” and “Don.”

Prismatic Bryan Jeffrey Graham, consultant for technology, strategy, brand and visual design. Brings visual elegance to all facets of our work, sheds light on murky problems and illuminates the team’s ideas.

Jockey Zarina Parpia, consultant for internal strategy and operations. Keeps us moving through tasks on pace and on track, stays in touch with our colleagues and their worlds.

Juggler Elliott Smith, Office Manager. Sustains the momentum of multiple tasks without dropping them, even when they catch on fire.

Find us and say something!

We like to be mouthy and there’s no better place for that than the Internet. Give us a holler.


We share our adventures and inspirations through Tiltings (a much shorter form than the novel Don Quixote). You can see the latest entry or browse previous posts: http://quixotefoundation.org/tiltings/


Original Website (1997–2015)
Spend Up Announcement
Spend Up Celebration
Ten-Year Anniversary

Thanks for visiting.

Now go full tilt!

“To surrender dreams — this may be madness. Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!”

— Don Quixote, Muse to Quixote Foundation