The following is a statement by William S. White, chairman and CEO of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, regarding developments related to the Foundation’s funding in Russia.
We’re disappointed that the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation is included on a list of organizations that the upper house of the Russian parliament recommends designating as “undesirable.” The matter is now under review by the country’s prosecutor general and other officials.
We’re watching developments closely, and we’re confident that the review process will find no cause for concern. However, we have concluded that the best course of action is to discontinue our support to Russian organizations.
The Mott Foundation is an independent, private philanthropy. We do not engage in political activity or accept funds from any government entity. We do our utmost to ensure that we and the organizations we support comply with all applicable laws — both in the United States and in all other countries where we fund charitable activities.
Our grantmaking is grounded in one of our founder’s core beliefs — that “every person, always, is in a kind of informal partnership with his community.” Mr. Mott understood that the health, prosperity and well-being of individuals and communities are intertwined. That’s why — in our hometown of Flint, Michigan, and elsewhere around the world — our efforts aim to strengthen connections between individuals and communities.
In Russia, this approach was highlighted by our support of a growing community school movement, which directly complemented Russia’s own national education initiative. We also supported efforts to develop community foundations and other forms of philanthropy so there would be more local resources available for charitable activities that Russian citizens deemed to be important. In all cases, our funding — which totaled more than $25 million since the early 1990s — was responsive to the interests and proposals of organizations working to improve lives and communities.
Over the course of more than two decades of supporting Russian organizations, we met many wonderful people and are proud of what has been accomplished. Going forward, we remain committed to advancing community education and local philanthropy at home and around the world.