The Germeshausen Foundation is a private, family foundation that supports organizations led by emerging leaders who have new ideas for addressing challenges in our society.

Many of the initiatives and programs we support serve young people through innovative approaches to education, mentoring, and leadership development. Several grants focus on spirituality and ethics, and others have supported new fields such as religion and ecology.

Nearly all the programs we fund advance the idea of interconnectedness among people, and between people and the environment. We believe this is the best way to solve problems in our interdependent global community.

Establishment of the foundation

The foundation was established in 1967 by Kenneth and Pauline (“Polly”) Germeshausen. Ken Germeshausen was a scientist, inventor, entrepreneur and business leader noted for his innovations in electronics and engineering. As a philanthropist, he sought to promote innovation in others. Throughout its history, the foundation has operated in this entrepreneurial spirit, championing new leaders with new ideas.

Focus and funding strategy

In its early years, the foundation focused on major arts and cultural institutions in and around Boston, Massachusetts. Under the current leadership of Nancy Klavans, the foundation seeks to support smaller organizations with the entrepreneurial capacity and skills to succeed.

Two of the foundation's top priorities-collaboration and interconnectedness-guide us in our funding decisions and overall grant-making strategy. We view every grant as an opportunity to build a relationship with dynamic individuals or organizations that have the drive and skill to build and sustain a program. We seek to remain actively engaged throughout the grant-making process.

We also hope our grants serve as strategic “signals” to other funders to support innovative programs and help them evolve and grow.

Foundation leadership

Nancy Klavans is the president and trustee of the Germeshausen Foundation. The daughter of founders Ken and Polly Germeshausen, Nancy has led the foundation since 2001.

Sarah and Alyssa Klavans, daughters of Nancy and Dick Klavans, currently serve as trustees of the Germeshausen Foundation.