Dedicated to

Nicolette “Nicki” Lodico

Friend, Colleague, and Tireless Advocate for Foundation Archives

Advancing Foundation Archives Conference Organizing Committee

Haian Abdirahman


The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Bob Clark

Director of Archives

Rockefeller Archive Center

Andrea Donohue

Senior Manager, Global Records and Archives

Ford Foundation

Nicolette Lodico

Director of Information Management

Ford Foundation

Elizabeth Stauber

Archivist and Records Manager

Hogg Foundation for Mental Health

Foreword: A Meeting Thirty Years Overdue

In 1990, the Rockefeller Archive Center and the Council on Foundations held a symposium entitled “Foundation Archives: Information, Access, and Research” that brought information managers and archivists together to discuss the challenges they faced in building, preserving, and providing access to the records created by the foundations they served. One result of that gathering was the publication of a slim volume called Establishing Foundation Archives: A Reader and Guide to First Steps (1991) edited by Kenneth W. Rose and Darwin H. Stapleton.

As I stepped into my first role as archivist for a foundation in 2018, I looked high and low for guidance. By then, Establishing Foundation Archives was long out of print, but I managed to find a copy. It provided reassurance that I was not lost in the woods but on a path others had walked ahead of me. Another more recent publication, “The Archives of U.S. Foundations: An Endangered Species” (2012) by John E. Craig, Jr., at the time executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Commonwealth Fund, laid out a strong case for creating and maintaining a foundation archive as a critical activity.

In June 2019, the Rockefeller Archive Center along with the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, co-hosted a second symposium nearly thirty years after the first. Advancing Foundation Archives: Advocacy, Strategies, and Solutions brought together archivists, grants managers, foundation leaders, information specialists, historians, legal experts, and many others to share ideas, practices, and resources. Most importantly, its goal was to build a community of archives advocates confronting a new and daunting challenge — how to collect, preserve, and provide access to the rising tide of born-digital records created by foundations. If the two publications mentioned above paved the way forward, the Advancing Foundation Archives meeting showed me that I had company on the journey.

All of the presentations delivered during the one-day conference are available on the Rockefeller Archive Center YouTube channel. The publication you are now reading represents a distillation of the topics, conversations, concerns, and solutions shared by twenty-one speakers and over one hundred participants. Our hope is that it helps fertilize the growth of more foundation archives and gives confidence and support to those tasked with this work.

Lori Eaton, CA, MLIS

September 2021