Guiding Principles

Charles Stewart Mott headshot.

Who We Are » Guiding Principles


Fundamental to all Mott grantmaking are certain values:

  • Nurturing strong, self-reliant individuals with expanded capacity for accomplishment.
  • Learning how people can create a sense of community, whether at the neighborhood level or as a global society.
  • Building strong communities through collaboration to provide a basis for positive change.
  • Encouraging responsible citizen participation to help foster social cohesion.
  • Promoting the social, economic and political empowerment of all individuals and communities to preserve fundamental democratic principles and rights.
  • Developing leadership to build upon the needs and values of people and to inspire the aspirations and potential of others.
  • Respecting the diversity of life to maintain a sustainable human and physical environment.

The Foundation is committed to transparency in its operations and grantmaking and participates in Candid’s GlassPockets program, which promotes transparency within the philanthropic sector.

Code of Ethics

Respect for the communities we work with and serve.

Integrity in our actions.

Responsibility for our decisions and their consequences.

We are committed to:

  • Acting honestly, truthfully and with integrity in all our transactions and dealings.
  • Avoiding conflicts of interest.
  • Appropriately handling actual or apparent conflicts of interest in our relationships.
  • Treating our grantees fairly.
  • Treating every individual with dignity and respect.
  • Treating our employees with respect, fairness and good faith and providing conditions of employment that safeguard their rights and welfare.
  • Being a good corporate citizen and complying with both the spirit and the letter of the law.
  • Acting responsibly toward the communities in which we work and for the benefit of the communities that we serve.
  • Being responsible, transparent and accountable for all of our actions.
  • Improving the accountability, transparency, ethical conduct and effectiveness of the nonprofit field.

Conflict of Interest Policies

The Mott Foundation’s commitment to clearly articulated policies to address potential conflicts of interest for trustees and staff members dates back to before the late 1960s.

The Foundation recognizes that its trustees and employees have broad interests and participate in many community, charitable and business activities. The broader the individual’s experience, the more valuable the trustee or staff member is to the Foundation. From time to time, however, a trustee or staff member may serve as an officer, staff member, director, trustee or consultant to an organization under consideration for Foundation support. Situations also may arise where a trustee or staff member’s business or personal interests may be affected by a Foundation grant decision.

In all such cases, the Foundation understands that the potential for conflict of interest needs to be recognized and disclosed, and appropriate steps taken to prevent influence or favoritism by any trustee or employee in the Foundation’s grant decision. To that end, trustees and staff members annually complete a conflict of interest disclosure statement.

It is important to note that while these policies most often are applied to the grantmaking process, they apply equally to all investment and business decisions and related matters.

Conflict of Interest — Trustee Policy