Pew 75 Years
Trust Article

A History of Service

From its earliest days in Philadelphia to the global NGO that it is today, The Pew Charitable Trusts has sought to improve people’s lives and help communities thrive

April 18, 2023 Read time:

In this Issue:

  • Spring 2023
  • The Pursuit of a Better Future
  • 75 Years of Solutions
  • A History of Service
  • The Big Picture
  • The Lessons of Optimism
  • Noteworthy
  • A Global Agreement for Conservation
  • Far More Americans See U.S. Influence Getting Weaker
  • Pew's CEO Reflects on the Values That Produce Results
  • With Partners, Creating Lasting Change
  • Return on Investment
  • Parenting in America Today
  • View All Other Issues
A History of Service

From its earliest days in Philadelphia to the global NGO that it is today, The Pew Charitable Trusts has sought to improve people’s lives and help communities thrive. Here are highlights from the past 75 years:


State female employees making surgical dressings / bandages for the American Red Cross in the Wisconsin State Employees Association building, 448 W Washington Avenue, Madison, Wisconsin, August 17, 1942. Seated, l to r: Marion Block, Lenore Hassett, Caroline Dagestad, Lydia Stumpf (leader), Vyrgil Tuft, and Dorothy Ryan. Standing, l to r : Lenore Brownlee, Rosaline Bee, Eulalia Fader, Eleanor DeMerse, Rosella Marshall, Zenobia Peachey and Dorothy Wilhelm.
Angus B. McVicar Wisconsin Historical Society/Getty Images


Creation of The Pew Memorial Foundation

Support of the American Red Cross

Support for the Institute for Cancer Research (now part of Fox Chase Cancer Center)

Support for the American Biblical Society

Support for Grove City College

Support for Lankenau Hospital

Black Students Leaving Howard University, An Institution Only For Afro-Americans In Washington, 1962.
Edouard BOUBAT Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images


Begins longstanding support for historically black colleges and universities


Creation of the Pew Memorial Trust, Mary Anderson Trust, and J. Howard Pew Freedom Trust




J.N. Pew Jr. Charitable Trust activated


Knollbrook Trust created


The French submersible Cyana is launched into the North Atlantic in 1974 as part of the French-American Mid-Ocean Undersea Study (Project FAMOUS). The submersible, together with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute-operated Alvin and the French bathyscaphe Archimede, took ocean scientists to the seafloor for the first-ever exploration of a rift valley and mid-ocean ridge.
WHOI Archives

Mabel Pew Myrin Trust activated


Pew begins funding environmental projects; among the first grants are to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution


Supports Scheie Eye Institute


Begins initiating projects, rather than simply accepting grant applications, following a new strategic vision


Medical Trust created



Members of the scholars National Advisory Committee at the 1990 meeting in Coral Gables, Florida.
The Pew Charitable Trusts

Announces the Health Care for the Homeless program, in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Announces first class of Pew Scholars Program in the Biomedical Sciences


Launches the Pew Latin American Fellows Program in the Biomedical Sciences


Launches Pew Fund for Health and Human Services to continue assistance to vulnerable Philadelphia families


Establishes Pew Center on the States through the University of Richmond


Creates Pew Internet & American Life Project



Launches Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life


Philadelphia, USA - April 13, 2013. Liberty Bell Center at dawn. Liberty Bell Center is a part of Independence Mall and located at Chestnut Street and South 6th Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia is the largest city in Pennsylvania and attracts visitors for its historic landmarks like Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.
aimintang iStockphoto

Helps to establish the ocean advocacy organization Oceana

Independence Visitor Center opens in Philadelphia


Pew becomes a public charity


Pew Oceans Commission issues recommendations to protect the ocean

Constitution Center opens in Philadelphia

The Liberty Bell opens to the public at a new location


Pew Research Center established


The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage begins support for cultural organizations and artists in the Philadelphia region through project grants

The bright northern lights with bright greens and purples in the night sky at Yellowknife.
Vincent Demers Photography/Getty Images


Begins Economic Mobility project to gather data on the ability of Americans to move up the economic ladder

Creates the Public Safety Performance Project to help states use research-based, fiscally sound policies in their corrections work and sentencing

Papahānaumokuākea marine protected area established with Pew support

Begins Global Ocean Legacy project

Launches Canadian boreal forest project


Begins Australian conservation work


Election officials have several voting booths available for  Early Voting at the Broomfield City and Coutny Building on Tuesday. October 21, 2008
David Jennings Digital First Media/Boulder Daily Camera via Getty Images

Creates Philadelphia Research Initiative to provide timely data on the city’s social and economic issues

Launches the Voter Information Project, an online initiative that would go on to provide information 123 million times during the 2016 election


Passage of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, first overhaul of the nation’s food safety laws since the Great Depression


Barnes Foundation opens to the public in its new location on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway after Pew provides support


Benjamin Franklin Museum opens

A pair of hands in latex gloves are handling small vials with bright colored caps.
National Cancer Institute/Unsplash


Pew-Stewart Scholars Program for Cancer Research launched


World’s largest marine protected area, in the Ross Sea, is created with Pew support


A group of penguins rushing along the ice toward the ocean. The first one is in mid-dive
John Weller

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau begins regulating pay and auto loan titles for the first time

Pew Bertarelli Ocean Legacy partnership launched



Brown Noddy or common noddy is  the largest of the Noddy family of birds.
Martin Harvey Getty Images

Launches the Blue Nature Alliance, a partnership working to conserve 6.9 million square miles of ocean


Enduring Earth, a collaborative effort by Pew and other partners, begins to help governments, Indigenous peoples, and local communities protect lands and waters essential to the future of the planet and humanity

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