October 12, 2022
Organized in collaboration with our partners the Ford Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health, the Advancing Foundation Archives Conference held on June 12, 2019m at the Ford Foundation headquarters in New York City was the first convening in nearly three decades to address the importance of managing, preserving, and providing access to foundation records and archives.The meeting brought together archivists, grants managers, foundation leaders, information specialists, historians, legal experts, and many others to share ideas, practices, and resources. Most importantly, its goal was to build a community of archives advocates confronting a new and daunting challenge – how to collect, preserve, and provide access to the rising tide of born-digital records created by foundations.The information professionals and foundation staff who gathered in New York in June 2019 shared the belief that creating, preserving, and providing access to foundation records are critical activities, whether they are done to provide access only to staff or to external researchers as well.Though more than one hundred people attended the 2019 Advancing Foundation Archives Conference, the organizers realized that many more could benefit from a resource that captures key learnings. To present the meeting in text form, the editors of the new Proceedings publication have condensed one hundred pages of transcripts, fleshed out concepts where needed, and gathered additional resources into the following sections:Perspectives of Foundation Stakeholders describes how stakeholders in foundations engage (or do not engage) with the archives. This includes board members and foundation executive leaders, but also staff across the foundation who often are the most prolific record creators. Motivating Issues and Events examines some of the scenarios that often give rise to the idea of building an archive – a major anniversary, a retiring board chair, a litigation threat – how attendees wrestled with those ideas, and where they turned for help. Records Management and Archives discusses information management, from documents, to email, to audio and video files, to data sets, and how information managers are building infrastructure to handle the tidal wave of digital files.Internal Access and Storytelling explores how describing and applying metadata to records can help staff more easily find and use the archives to inform their work.Public Access and Storytelling describes how foundations make their history accessible to the public, from exhibits, to published histories, to transitioning archives to an external repository.