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 attributes that we believe defined his life, career and the institutions he established and led. Individually and as an organization, we strive to exhibit these attributes in everything we do:

  • Integrity
    We act with honesty, sincerity and the strongest moral principles. We value our relationships and, as such, remain fair and ethical in our interactions with others.
  • Excellence
    We put forth our personal and professional best, seek and support best-in-class leaders, and commit to continuous improvement.
  • Accountability
    We take personal responsibility for our actions and the results of our actions. We build trust by delivering on our promises and expect others to do the same.
  • Collaborative
    We achieve greater impact by partnering with and learning from others, as well as integrating a mix of perspectives, talents and capabilities around a shared goal.
  • Entrepreneurial
    We are willing to pursue potentially higher risk initiatives with the goal of obtaining meaningful impact. We celebrate passion, imagination and determination in our work and in others.
  • Transformational
    We invest in people to make a positive, exciting and lasting impact. We seek partners who share our energy and enthusiasm for significant outcomes.

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.