President Abraham Lincoln wrote: “I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts.” J.N. Pew Jr., who founded The Pew Charitable Trusts with his siblings Mary Ethel Pew, J. Howard Pew, and Mabel Pew Myrin, made a similar remark in 1946 when Look magazine invited him to offer advice to President Harry Truman. His response: Tell the truth and trust the people.
That is exactly what The Pew Charitable Trusts has been doing throughout its long and proud history. Pew’s work is guided by the values of our founders and an abiding commitment to use the power of knowledge—garnered from disciplined research—to serve the public good.
Much has changed since The Pew Memorial Foundation was created in 1948 and began to support religious, medical, educational, cultural, and social service organizations. The founders understood that they could not anticipate many of the problems that our nation and the world would face in the decades to come. Their goal was to create an institution not just for their time—but for all time. They wanted the Trusts to be entrepreneurial, fact-based, capable of responding to new challenges, and willing to speak truth to power.
For 70 years, Pew has increased its focus on strategic planning and on establishing measurable goals to ensure that we maximize the results of our investments on behalf of society. Today we are a global nongovernmental organization committed to improving public policy, informing the public, and invigorating civic life.
As Pew has grown and evolved, we have been able to expand the range of issues we address, recruit and deploy talent more efficiently, operate our own programs, build stronger and more effective partnerships, and advocate for policies at all levels of government. But while Pew has increased its focus on the impact of our investments and taken on new challenges, we continue to live by the qualities that animated our founders: entrepreneurship, stewardship, and a belief that progress springs from data, science, and facts.
Rebecca W. Rimel
President and CEO