Building on the Past to Shape a More Equitable Future

The “I Have A Dream” program, sponsored by the Bainum Family Foundation from 1988 to 1994 in Washington, D.C., is part of our legacy of supporting children and families over the past five decades.

The work of the Bainum Family Foundation has evolved over our 52-year history, with each new chapter building on prior experiences and learnings. At the start of our 2019/2020 fiscal year, we began preparing for the next evolution. This included completing the work of the five-year strategic plan we launched in 2015, while also initiating a new strategic planning process to reimagine our work and chart our future direction. That effort was well underway when the multiple, intersectional crises — health, racial justice and economic — erupted in early 2020.

We had affirmed several things at the start of this process: We wanted to become more nimble in order to respond to emerging needs and a dynamic environment, and we wanted to authentically engage the community in identifying and co-creating solutions. We committed to continuing our legacy work in faith-based education and food through our Bainum Foundation Farm. And we also knew that two key learnings from our past would deeply inform and influence our future work:

  • Educational supports alone are not enough when children’s overall well-being is so significantly influenced by family and their broader environment.
  • Reaching children earlier with critical supports and services can have a greater impact on long-term outcomes.

None of this changed. However, the crises strengthened our resolve to become an anti-racist organization by focusing intently on racial equity and working urgently toward creating a more equitable society in which all children can thrive — particularly those who have been systematically excluded from power, resources and opportunity. We want to address the root causes of these racial and economic inequities — not just the symptoms — and to pursue systemic change that generates widespread and lasting impact.

Our strategic planning will continue into spring 2021 but ultimately is only the start of an ongoing journey.