Our Mission

The Commonweal Foundation operates and supports educational programs and projects assisting underserved children and youth, from early childhood through post-secondary education.

Our Vision

Our vision is that children living in poverty have the opportunity to break the bonds of their circumstance by gaining access to quality educational opportunities and services, and graduate from high school prepared to enter and succeed in higher education or pursue gainful employment to become contributing members of society.

Our Core Values

Continuous Learning Embrace change and grow
We pursue feedback and training that will improve the quality of our work. As continuous learners, we are always asking, “What’s next?” so we can continue to evolve the value we bring to others.

Integrity Be open and transparent
We value and understand the importance of transparency. This keeps us honest, authentic and accountable.

Collaboration Respect and engage all partners
We consistently seek outcomes that will be beneficial to all partners involved. We know that oftentimes we are better together.

Commitment Be accountable and persist
We set realistic goals, and create relative benchmarks to meet them so that we can deliver on our promises and achieve our goals.

Our Theory Of Change

We believe that in order for underserved students to succeed in school, their careers, and in their personal lives, they need a combination of strong academic preparation and a host of wrap-around support and services to meet their biological, psychological, and social needs. We believe this support must begin in early childhood.

Our History & Legacy

The Commonweal Foundation’s mission, values and vision are deeply connected to the life experience and perspective of our founder, Stewart Bainum.

In 1968, Stewart Bainum founded the Commonweal Foundation to serve the community in which he had lived and thrived since 1937. First known as The College Fund, Commonweal’s original purpose was to provide loans to financially needy students for college tuition. In the 1980s, the Foundation acquired its new name and a new focus: the support of secondary education. In 1988, Commonweal became one of the first local sponsors of the nationally acclaimed "I Have A Dream" program, promising college scholarships to nearly seventy elementary school students upon their completion of high school. Today, the Commonweal Foundation continues to provide educational and social support to underserved students in the form of widely expanded services, including grants, scholarships, and educational programs.

The experiences of the Dreamers, along with the lessons learned about what worked and didn’t work, continues to inform and guide the work of the Foundation today.  Although Stewart Bainum passed away in February 2014, his legacy lives on through the work of the Commonweal Foundation and the thousands of lives forever changed by his generous spirit.