Mission & Values
Founded in 1948, The Pew Charitable Trusts uses data to make a difference. Pew addresses the challenges of a changing world by illuminating issues, creating common ground, and advancing ambitious strategies that lead to tangible progress.
Informed by its founders’ entrepreneurial and optimistic spirit, Pew has evolved with the times while remaining true to the Pew family’s enduring interest in research, practical knowledge, and a robust democracy.
Our mission is to:
- Improve public policy by conducting rigorous analysis, linking diverse interests to pursue common cause, and insisting on tangible results.
- Inform the public by providing useful data that illuminates the issues and trends shaping our world.
- Invigorate civic life by encouraging democratic participation and strong communities, particularly in our hometown of Philadelphia.
Our values build on our past, reflect today’s challenges, and look to our future. They include a commitment to:
- Equity. We believe systemic inequities must be recognized, illuminated, and addressed. We operate from a perspective of mutual respect that affirms our individual differences and our common humanity.
- Humility. We recognize that our ability to create change is linked with the capacity and knowledge of our colleagues and our partners. We listen and foster understanding to serve the common good, acknowledging our mistakes and changing course when needed to learn and grow.
- Impact. We are ambitious and know that the path to success often comes through incremental steps. We know our strengths and apply our efforts where we see the greatest potential to make a difference. We measure our progress and seek a high return on investment in all that we do because we know that lasting, measurable results matter for the communities we serve and support.
- Inclusion. We believe that diverse voices generate better ideas. We collaborate with others because we are more effective and creative together than we are alone. We understand that adapting to multiple viewpoints is an ongoing journey, and we are committed to a welcoming and inclusive culture.
- Innovation. Since its founding, Pew has been a dynamic organization, discovering and pursuing new approaches to meet the challenges of the day. We continually seek opportunities to improve the world through the work we do and the way we do it. We welcome bold ideas and the changes required to advance them.
- Integrity. We provide trustworthy information to ground public discourse and advance solutions. We are committed to accuracy, and we hold ourselves accountable for conducting rigorous research and developing recommendations grounded in data and science. We keep our commitments to our colleagues and partners. We are open about what we know and don’t know, and we avoid exaggeration.
- Nonpartisanship. We follow the facts wherever they lead us. When we take a stand, we do so based on evidence, not ideology or opinion. We are advocates for civil public debate, respectful dialogue, and thoughtful compromise that will lead to positive change. We remain steadfast in our belief in the power of expanding common ground and building bridges among different perspectives.
The Pew Charitable Trusts is the sole beneficiary of seven individual trusts established between 1948 and 1979 by two sons and two daughters of Sun Oil Co. founder Joseph N. Pew and his wife, Mary Anderson Pew. In the past 75 years, we have contributed to numerous initiatives designed to improve education, job creation, and opportunity in Philadelphia and throughout the United States. In the 1950s, we began supporting historically black colleges and universities in an effort that became one of our longest-lasting grant programs. Our interest in federal policy began in 1986, with the establishment of a program on economics and national security. We started working on environmental issues with a diverse range of stakeholders in the 1970s; and, in 1991, we began partnering with Indigenous people on land and ocean conservation. Since 2005, we have sought ways to directly address some of the challenges that disproportionately affect those who are disadvantaged by systemic inequities, including incarceration, debt, and access to credit.
We know that when we include a diverse range of perspectives and backgrounds, we can get better at asking the right questions and crafting innovative solutions. Read more about our commitment to DEI.
Analysis of the facts, numbers, and trends shaping the world