Leveraging Philanthropy and Collaboration

The Lodestar Foundation seeks to expand the overall capacity of the social sector by promoting philanthropy, volunteering, public service, nonprofit collaboration and other business practices.

About Us

Our People

Jerry Hirsch, Chairman
Lois Savage, President
Cathy Lake, Vice President of Programs
Bonnie Fujii, Grants Manager

Our Mission

Our mission is to maximize the leverage of philanthropic dollars, time and effort through the pursuit of two strategies:

  • to increase philanthropic resources by supporting organizations, programs and projects that serve primarily to encourage philanthropy, public service and/or volunteerism; and
  • to increase philanthropic impact by encouraging and supporting long-term collaborations among nonprofits working in the same or complementary areas in order to increase efficiency and/or impact and to reduce duplication of efforts, and the adoption of other sound business practices.

Our Name

One of the challenges in starting a new enterprise is finding the right name to reflect the essence of the organization. In 1999, as we were forming the foundation, we read through an entire dictionary searching for the perfect name; it was there that we discovered the word “lodestar.” “Lodestar” has two meanings: first, it’s the guiding star that is used as a point of reference for sailors in navigation, and, secondly, and more generally, it is something that serves as a model, inspiration or guiding principle. We subsequently learned that “lodestar” has a third meaning in Arizona history; the “lodestar” was the first shining glint of ore, uncovered by miners that foreshadowed striking a rich vein of ore in the mine. Applying any of these three definitions, it seems the perfect name for a family of foundations* that were formed to inspire and guide us to find happiness through philanthropy.

*  The Lodestar Foundation
    The Lodestar Charitable Foundation
    The Lodestar Jewish Donor Advised Fund
    The Lodestar Foundation Fund

Our Geographic Focus

While The Lodestar Foundation is based in Phoenix, Arizona, and a number of our grants support local nonprofits, we are opportunity-driven and our grantmaking is national and international.  We constantly seek opportunities that are aligned with our mission and strategies and that include funding partners to participate with us.


To gain an understanding of financial, technological and intellectual philanthropy tools that can be used to contribute to community impact, visit the Learning by Giving Foundation Web site.

For interesting commentary on the relationship between happiness and philanthropy click here.

One specific way in which happiness and philanthropy are linked may relate to limiting the life of a foundation. Click here for resources on the concept of Giving While Living.

The following websites contain a rich variety of resources about collaboration:  Foundation Center Collaboration Hub, The Bridgespan Group and SeaChange Capital Partners.