We are a family foundation first and foremost. Our charge is to extend the arc of charitable giving established by our founder, William Davidson, in perpetuity.

Mr. Davidson specifically chose not to give us a mission statement. Instead, he directed us to follow his lead and interpret his wishes accordingly.

We have many pointers: Jewish values set his moral compass. Humility and compassion were intrinsic to his character. Competition, exceedingly high standards and pragmatic risk were essential elements of his career success. And joy: He saw the best in people and in life.


“We each have a responsibility to do all we can to provide a better world for future generations.”William Davidson


The course we chart today, through our four focus areas — Jewish Life, Economic Vitality, Cultural and Civic Vitality, and Education — flow from his philanthropic priorities and our interpretation of how these priorities are evolving in society today.

He established the William Davidson Foundation in 2005 and served as chairman of its Board of Directors until his death in 2009. A six-member Board directs the Foundation’s work now, holding regular Executive Committee, Grants Committee and Board meetings.

Woven into the very fabric of the Foundation is our desire to keep Mr. Davidson’s memory alive. We want the future generations he so cared about — and who will continuously benefit from his philanthropy — to know the man, who he was and what he stood for.

We have many ways of doing this. One example is our embrace of a set of core values that we believe reflect his character and how he defined his life, career, and the institutions he established and led. Individually and as an organization, we strive to exhibit these four core values in everything we do:

  • People Matter
    We believe every individual should be treated with empathy and respect. We understand the power of meaningful and genuine relationships.
  • Leadership Makes a Difference
    We value and invest in leaders who build trust, see the potential in people, and actively create a space for others to flourish.
  • See the Impossible as Possible
    We imagine with purpose, optimism, and enthusiasm. We choose to see the world through the lens of possibility and opportunity.
  • Just Start
    We encourage ourselves and others to take initiative to make a difference. Be bold, curious, and take the first step.

In 2014, we hired our first professional staff person, our chief financial officer. Since then, the professional staff has grown to 18. We invite you to read The William Davidson Story to begin to know our founder and to visit Our Staff to meet our professional team.