Message from the founders

Philanthropy is a Partnership of Head and Heart

People choose to give for many reasons, including an impulse to fight for social justice, a spiritual drive, a desire to improve what is broken, or the fact that philanthropy can bring a simple feeling of joy to the giver. Many entrepreneurs become philanthropists because we are driven to meet unmet needs. When you see something and you know it’s wrong — you know it could be better — you have to act.

Those of us in philanthropy take on complex problems that are hard to address and may be impossible to solve, and we do so in an ever-changing and stressful social, political, and technological landscape. Our time and resources are limited — only by partnering with others can we achieve positive, lasting improvements in our communities. And only by partnering our heads and hearts can we bring the best of our business experience to bear on the issues that have tugged at our emotions.

The work of philanthropy is never done. But when there’s real progress underway — when the White House advances early childhood education; when a culture of school food reform is the new normal in districts nationwide; when the work takes on a life of its own — then the entrepreneur is ready to take on a different challenge, and begin work anew.

Our philanthropy will continue, but the time of The Orfalea Fund has come to a close. We are extremely grateful that our partners have taken up the work of early childhood education, school food reform, and disaster readiness, and we are pleased to share the lessons of our experience on this site. The family will be launching new foundations in 2016, and will not be accepting proposals or engaging in new ventures before that time.

Thank you again, on behalf of our family and our foundation coworkers,



Natalie Orfalea

Co-Founder and Chair, The Orfalea Fund
Co-Founder and Chair, The Orfalea Family Foundation