Wallace Foundation



New York, NY

Tax ID:


Budget (2015):

Revenue: $83,614,240
Expenses: $84,573,437
Assets: $1,450,121,796




Grantmaking Foundation


Will Miller

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The Wallace Foundation is a left-of-center grantmaking foundation in New York City which supports underperforming schools through special programs, education research, and advocacy. With $1.6 billion and assets, and $57.6 million dispersed in 2017,1 Wallace is the 36th-largest philanthropy in the world. 2


The Wallace Foundation originated from four New York City philanthropic organizations devoted to the arts and education founded in the 1950s by publishing magnate power couple Dewitt Wallace and Lila Bell Wallace, the founders of the Reader’s Digest. 3 In the 1980s, the philanthropic organizations were consolidated into the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund and the DeWitt Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund. These two organizations sold the last of their Reader’s Digest stock and formally merged in 2003 to become the Wallace Foundation. 4


The 2003 consolidation of Wallace charities marked a transition in priorities from program-funding to research and advocacy, making the foundation operate as both a grantmaking foundation and a think tank. 5 The Foundation describes the transition as a switch from “doing good” to “making change.” 6

Wallace Foundation’s method is to identify systematic education problems, fund experimental programs based on academic research, collect data, and then advocate best practices. 7 The Foundation is running seven education initiatives, including school leadership, summer learning, and arts education. 8 The goals of these initiatives are to boost overall education outcomes in underperforming schools by improving administration, increasing after-school activities, and expanding arts participation. 9


Wallace has given out 3,281 grants to nonprofit organizations since the early 1990s,10 many of which are left-of-center institutions, including:

  • National Public Radio (NPR), a left-of-center media organization,11 which receives funding from the government and private donors. Since 1999, NPR has received numerous grants for “advancing philanthropy” from Wallace adding up to $16,240,175. 12
  • The Tides Center, is a subsidiary of the left-of-center Tides Foundation, which directs funds to liberal causes on behalf of its donors. Since 2015, Tides has received numerous grants for “advancing philanthropy” from Wallace adding up to $32,500. 13
  • Hispanics in Philanthropy, a left-of-center Hispanic-interest organization, has received numerous grants for “advancing philanthropy.” Since 2015, the organization has received numerous grants for “advancing philanthropy” from Wallace adding up to $54,000. 14

Glasspockets Initiative

Wallace participates in the Glasspocket Initiative,15 which requires the organization to maintain a high level of operational transparency along 27 indicators, including its executive compensation process, diversity data, and audited financial statements. 16 Wallace currently has Glasspocket’s highest transparency rating, having successfully fulfilled 25 out of 27 transparency indicators. 17

Philanthropy’s Promise

Wallace is one of more than 200 signatories to “Philanthropy’s Promise,”18 an initiative of the left-wing National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. The pledge requires signatories to abide by numerous politically progressive goals, including giving at least 50% of their grants to “underserved communities” and at least 25% of grants towards “nonprofit advocacy, community organizing, or civic engagement.” 19

Philanthropy’s Promise also has requirements for “social justice grantmaking.” Signatories must orient grantmaking toward at least one of nine distinct social groups, including ethnic and racial minorities, women, and LGTBQ, in order to effect “structural change” in society. 20 Wallace abides by this provision by serving “economically disadvantaged” communities.


Wallace publishes an annual diversity report to measure the racial and ethnic composition of its staff. The 2019 report states that Wallace has a more ethnically diverse staff than similarly sized nonprofit organizations ($1-1.99 billion in assets), at 58% white compared to 69% white. 21


  1. “Return on Organization Exempt from Taxes 2017 (Form 990).” ProPublica. Accessed January 31, 2020.
  2. “World’s 100 largest philanthropic foundations.” Arco Lab. Accessed January 31, 2020.
  3. “A Brief History.” Wallace. Accessed January 31, 2020.
  4. “The Wallace Foundation.” Foundry Directory Online. Accessed January 31, 2020.
  5. “Profile: The Wallace Foundation.” Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. Accessed January 31, 2020.
  6. “A Brief History.” Wallace. Accessed January 31, 2020.
  7. “The Wallace Approach.” Wallace. January 31, 2020.
  8. “Our Work.” Wallace. Accessed January 31, 2020.
  9. “Wallace Foundation Mission Statement.” The New York Times. Accessed January 31, 2020.
  10. “Our Grantees.” Wallace. Accessed January 31, 2020.
  11. “NPR Admits a Liberal Bias.” MRC. Accessed January 31, 2020.
  12. “Our Grantees.” Wallace. Accessed January 31, 2020.
  13. “Our Grantees.” Wallace. Accessed January 31, 2020.
  14. “Our Grantees.” Wallace. Accessed January 31, 2020.
  15. “Who Has Glasspockets?” Glasspockets. Accessed January 31, 2020.
  16. “’Who Has Glass Pockets Indicator?’” Glasspockets. January 31, 2020.
  17. “Who Has Glasspockets?” Glasspockets. Accessed January 31, 2020.
  18. “Sign on to Philanthropy’s Promise.” NCRP. Accessed January 31, 2020.
  19. “Philanthropy’s Promise.” NCRP. Accessed January 31, 2020.
  20. “Frequently Asked Questions.” NCRP. Accessed January 31, 2020.
  21. “The Wallace Foundation Diversity Year in Review Report to the Board of Directors June 2019.” Wallace. Accessed January 31, 2020.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: October 1, 1965

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2015 Dec Form PF $83,614,240 $84,573,437 $1,450,121,796 $23,478,653 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form PF $72,340,447 $76,663,085 $1,520,575,704 $19,429,321 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form PF $131,330,403 $81,051,379 $1,514,962,198 $28,653,035 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2012 Dec Form PF $54,423,634 $81,042,320 $1,400,654,324 $25,638,356 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2011 Dec Form PF $86,095,252 $80,471,288 $1,327,580,068 $19,987,048 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    Wallace Foundation

    140 BROADWAY 49TH FL
    New York, NY 10005-1105