Key Points

This article documents the unique trajectory of the Leeway Foundation and its transition from sole-director family foundation to an independent foundation. Over 25 years, Leeway shifted in structure and grantmaking, yet has remained in line with its founder’s original mission: to fund women artists in the Philadelphia region.

This article focuses on the shift from the founder’s initial intentions to what is now an organization informed by models of racial and gender equity, funding women, trans, and gender nonconforming artists working for social change. Leeway thus serves as a case study for examining transformational shifts in mission, vision, and constituency with leadership after an initial donation.

Through analysis of qualitative data, this article addresses donor intent and (unintentional) legacy in changing social and political circumstances. We consider how the organization’s development was enabled but not constrained by the circumstances of its founding and identify strategies and best practices for other foundations in transition, whether in terms of population served or organizational structure.

Open Access