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Grantmaking Overview


Historical Perspective
Grantmaking in I.A. O’Shaughnessy’s time was largely focused on his personal charitable interests. Gifts from both the Foundation and his personal income were so numerous that it would be difficult to catalog all of them. What characterized his giving was a swift and direct personal response to perceived needs.

I.A.’s commitment to Catholic higher education was strong, with substantial grants made to the College of St. Thomas and the College of St. Catherine, both in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. He also supported other educational institutions, arts organizations, hospitals, medical research, ecumenism, and many programs for youth, the blind, and others in need.

One of I.A.’s most satisfying achievements was the creation of the Tantur Ecumenical Institute for Theological Studies, located between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. The theological research center encourages Christian scholars and those of other faiths from all over the world to study religious issues and overcome differences.

After I.A.’s death, according to his wishes, grantmaking decisions were entrusted to his five children who then became the Board of Directors of the Foundation. Following their father’s example, the second generation Directors focused on their own growing and varied philanthropic interests, giving primarily in their own communities.

This model has been followed as the third generation of family members has assumed the work and governance of the Foundation.  In addition, through the Board Grants Program, the Directors work together to make grants that are intended to have a significant impact in a chosen focus area.