After considerable consultation with our attorneys, the Krause Foundation is now once again prepared to accept applications for funding. We are not making this announcement because we expect you to successfully apply for a grant. In all likelihood, you are one of the people who will get nothing. However, we do have an extraordinary amount of money, and, therefore, we expect you will pay attention to us.
We are making an announcement at this time because the philanthropy press has reported that all living members of the Krause family have sued the foundation to prevent the use of family assets for any further grant-making. Yes, this is objectively true. But it is a fleeting reality that we have now brushed off our table so that tea may be served.
While Meredith, Malachy, and Missy Krause do constitute a majority of the Krause Foundation’s board of trustees, our plan to get all three siblings dead drunk the night before the board meeting was both legal and successful, and, consequently, our charter as a grant-giving institution has been preserved.
Foundation staff are now firmly in control, and we are in a position to award a small portion of our current endowment income to worthy projects, notwithstanding the fact that for most of you, submitting a proposal would be truly pointless.
What is the mission of the Krause Foundation? Our mission is not to award grants. We could stop awarding grants and nothing bad would happen to us. Our lives would go on just as they are. We don’t have some pathological need to award grants. A grant has to feel right to us, in a way that most of you will never understand.
So what, then, is our mission? At our staff retreat in Nepal last year, we confronted that very question. What is our mission? Why are we here? Should we have gone to a different hotel?
Instead of just reaching for easy answers, we committed ourselves to a process of re-examining who we are, where we want to go, and how we will get there. The more we can establish linkages and encourage other people to establish linkages, the more linkages we will have, and the better we will feel about ourselves (and our linkages). In other words, this is a journey. An awakening. We have embarked on a very exciting strategic-planning process, and we don’t want to question it too much, because if we do, it may fall apart.
Areas of Interest
What areas are we interested in funding? We had no time to deal with this at the retreat. But at our previous retreat, in Basel, we discussed a number of areas of interest to the staff—greenhouse gases, excessive body piercing, road rage, and cranky children. This does not mean that we are prepared to fund projects in these areas, only that they are of concern, or they were of concern during an earlier period, which may or may not have ended.
Things We Don’t Like
We believe in growth. We believe in development. We do not believe in conflict. Conflict simply leads to more conflict, and before you know it, people are tossing their drinks at each other. If you’re interested in raising your voice, please move on.
We are naturally suspicious of people we don’t know. However, we cannot meet with you before you apply. Also, we cannot meet with you after you apply. Using an acquaintance as a referral in order to get a meeting with us has a covert, social-climber quality to it that we find repugnant. It may work, but we will resent you for having the nerve to try it.
If we do meet, we may greet you warmly. But if we do greet you warmly, that doesn’t necessarily mean anything.
We suggest that your proposal be five pages long. Proposals that are longer than five pages often appear to us to be screaming out “I am important!” in a way that we find both shrill and grating.
Proposals that are shorter than five pages are usually written by the people who sat next to us during final exams and cracked their gum. Even then, we all knew that these were people who would never be funded.
Proposals that are exactly five pages are suspect, for obvious reasons. People who tailor their proposals to exactly meet our guidelines are people who simply don’t have a dream.
Use your proposal to tell your story. Tell your story in the same way you would tell it to a good friend, someone you could take a shower with and not get all embarrassed. Don’t tell us about your organization. Tell us about you. Tell us about what is special about you personally. But whatever you do, please don’t be self-indulgent. Always remember that we are the people who will make the decision on whether your project will go anywhere. And, to be honest, we are really accountable to no one.
And there you have it. This foundation is special. Special. We hope everyone understands that. But if you don’t, you don’t.