Reflecting on Foundation for Global Community

After 60 years, now-defunct nonprofit is focus of cable television special

Shutting down after 60 years of operation, the Foundation for Global Community, a local educational and fundraising nonprofit, will be celebrating its achievements and message with a local television broadcast this weekend.

The Palo Alto foundation officially closed Dec. 31, 2010, and has since been liquefying all assets, including a retreat center in the Santa Cruz Mountains and headquarters in Palo Alto. The funds will be donated to nonprofit organizations including the Land Institute in Salina, Kan., the Pachamama Alliance in San Francisco and others, trustee Jim Burch said.

"We weren't making maximum use of the resources that have developed over time and now we are hoping to send them to others who can use them," Burch said.

"The money will also go to a young people's organization in Africa among others, funding their travel and work there," he added.

Since 2006, the foundation has granted more than $17 million to 197 recipients, Burch said.

The Foundation for Global Community traces its origin back more than 80 years, to Dr. Henry Burton Sharman, a theologian and scientist from the University of Chicago, who sought to unify the disciplines of science and religion in the belief that each searched for the same universal truths about reality, according to the nonprofit.

Eventually, in 1949, Sequoia Seminar Foundation was incorporated locally and by 1964, men and women were writing curricula, leading discussion groups and seminars, and planning and giving presentations for the public. Some of these programs were called "The Quest for Meaning," "Challenge to Change," and "The Challenge of Time."

In 1971, these activities were incorporated as Creative Initiative Foundation.

In 1981, the Cold War was at its height and the organization's focus changed to survival in the nuclear age. The Beyond War movement developed, eventually involving more than 20,000 people around the world, the nonprofit states on its website.

With the end of the Cold War, the tearing down of the Berlin Wall, and other hopeful signs of change, Beyond War enlarged its focus and, in 1991, became Foundation for Global Community.

"The foundation is essentially an educational one which began its formation in 1950. We are involved with social activism and operate on the basic belief that cooperating together with all cultures, races and nations will help make the world a better place," Burch said.

The two-hour television broadcast, hosted by the Midpeninsula Media Center and entitled "Global Community," will air on Friday (Feb. 25) from 7 to 9 p.m. (Comcast Channel 28) and Saturday (Feb. 26) from 8 to 10 p.m. (Comcast Channel 27).

It will present an overview of the organization's philosophy, history and work, with commentary by seven grant recipients, Burch said.

More information on the foundation's history is available online.

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Like this comment
Posted by DP
a resident of another community
on Oct 14, 2012 at 2:59 pm

It was really sad to see this group shut down..... but it seems it splintered and could not remain focused. Maybe that is the fate of humans, not to be able to stay together to work on positive change. I have yet to see any other group really bring the idea of peace together as well as this group did in the 90s.

Like this comment
Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 14, 2012 at 6:51 pm

They opposed the great Ronald Reagan and his 'peace through strength' approach, which won the cold war. They were on the wrong side of history. That is why they folded.

Like this comment
Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on Oct 14, 2012 at 7:16 pm

They were a well meaning organization which was quite successful in moderating some Cold War conflicts.

They got a lot of their funding from military/industrial tycoons who had made their money and wanted a better way.

Their problem was a succession problem-the founders were charismatic, intelligent,patriotic and persuasive.

The next set of leaders where dumb, divisive and certainly not charismatic nor patriotic

It was sad to see the chaotic decline of the group under incompetent leadership.

Of course the founders should have made a better succession plan and not trusted up inheritance --the downfall of Wang Computers.

The group only adopted the radical left wing agenda after the 1/husband and 2/wife- founders 1/died and 2/retired

They were originally a Christian revival movement

-but they lost their way into pantheism after the founders left

-an interesting,tragic story which left them no legacy


Like this comment
Posted by curmudgeon
a resident of Downtown North
on Oct 15, 2012 at 9:26 am

"Their problem was a succession problem-the founders were charismatic, intelligent,patriotic and persuasive. The next set of leaders where dumb, divisive and certainly not charismatic nor patriotic"

That's the inevitable fate of charisma-based cults like this. Charismatic leaders do not like the competition that charismatic followers bring. They favor submissive sheep, which cannot govern after the shepherd's gone.

But I do miss "Visualize Whirled Peas."

Like this comment
Posted by Kate
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Oct 15, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Look at the date of the above article. This was printed over one and a half years ago. It's old news.

2 people like this
Posted by Pat Reeves
a resident of another community
on Aug 18, 2016 at 7:37 pm

Creative Initiative and then Beyond war gave my life a sense of meaning and purpose. I will always be
grateful to all those who gave so much of themselves to these organizations.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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