A Family Tradition
Although our offices are located at the base of the Beartooth Mountains in Red Lodge, Montana, our board is scattered throughout the United States and Internationally. Spanning across three generations and various interests, the board consists of seven family members of the original benefactors.
The Foundation bears the name of twin brothers, Oliver Pearl Edwards and William Earl Edwards and was originally incorporated in New York in 1962 as the O.P. Edwards Foundation. It became a 501(c)(3) organization in 1964.
Mrs. Josephine Edwards, widow of O.P. Edwards, started the foundation in memory of her husband to continue helping inspirational individuals who were doing meaningful work. Initially, the General Fund was established which made small grants and loans. William Earl Edwards was inspired by this philanthropy and contributed to the foundation upon his passing. Thus, the name was changed to the O.P. and W.E. Edwards Foundation and a testamentary fund was added to benefit those organizations designated in his will. Over the years, the Foundation has refined its mission but has always remained true to the intent of the original benefactors.
Incoming Executive Director
Outgoing Executive Director
Jo Ann Eder
We do not accept unsolicited requests for funding. As a small foundation, we feel we cannot adequately evaluate proposals from organizations which are not directly familiar to us. Our experience has been that our most successful grants have been to groups with which one or more Trustees are closely acquainted.
The General Fund supports organizations that help provide a bridge to a life of greater opportunity to underserved youth and children. We believe that children deserve assistance that is holistic and long lasting. This assistance should addresses significant factors that impede success in education and in life.
We believe that the earlier help can be provided to children, the better. Research has shown that birth until the age of five is a key stage in brain development and that early intervention can have profound effects upon later success. Therefore, the Edwards Foundation is making Early Childhood Care and Education a priority in our grantmaking.
The T(w)een Years is another important stage as children develop into young adults. Inundated with new influences, growing independence and responsibilities, and changing bodies, these youngsters need solid support to help ground and guide their evolving identities.
We believe that children and youth are best served by quality programs that can help them develop important New Skills including:
And Changes in Behaviors and Attitudes including increases in:
improved outlook and
To this end, we make grants to non-profit organizations for general, program or scholarship support of their work with low‐income, at‐risk, underserved youth and children. We may provide limited support for quality improvement, capacity building and advocacy for these organizations either directly or through intermediaries.
We have a special interest in supporting Native American children, youth and their families especially those in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and the Dakotas. We believe that an integral part in creating a vibrant, dynamic, culturally rich Native community is the involvement of the children and youth. Based on past experience, we have found that the most successful programs in Indian Country are grassroots organizations that build upon the inherent strengths of the community.
We place great importance upon site visits and developing relationships with the organizations with which we partner. Because of this emphasis, we have a restricted geographical area in which we award grants. With some exceptions, this area generally includes Montana, Wyoming, Vermont, and New York.
We will not generally award grants over 20% of an organization’s operating revenue excluding in-kind contributions. Grants made to organizations new to us will be smaller and may include more reporting until a better relationship is established.
W.E. Edwards Testamentary Fund
Income to the W. E. Edwards Fund is distributed annually to a number of organizations specified under the will of the donor.
The Environmental Fund, Sky and Earth and Sound Justice Fund are un-endowed, discretionary funds. Grants from these funds are suggested by the trustees of the fund.
We make some of our assets available for investments in which the primary payback is social, not financial, including Social investment funds and low-interest Mission Related Investment (MRI) and Program Related Investment (PRI) loans for our grantee organizations. Our goal with these loans and investments is that the funds are doing work in the program areas and/or communities in which we grant.