The Werner Erhard Foundation, was established in a time of transformation and transition. Old values, ideals, and beliefs were being challenged; new ideas and insights, new ways of seeing old problems, and new solutions were coming into view.
Historians will likely view this period as an era of profound change, a time when human beings discarded old limits, explored new visions, and embraced ne realities. We are witnessing the emergence of a new and unexpected paradigm, a new model for humanity, characterized by a demand from individuals and communities for effective action, for translating the new insights into concrete results. For all of us there is the opportunity to redefine what it means to be a human being.
The Werner Erhard Foundation (originally founded as The est Foundation) fostered and supported this emerging paradigm by providing financial and organizational support to individuals and groups engaged in charitable and educational pursuits – research, communication, education, and scholarly endeavors in the fields of individual and social transformation and human well-being. We see our contribution to these people and groups as an investment in the development of a new context: a world that works for everyone.
Reviewing the grants they made, one might question what a Tibetan holy man and a systems analyst have in common. A closer look reveals that the emerging paradigm shows itself in every field of endeavor: from religions to sports, from health care to art, from education to entertainment. The Werner Erhard Foundation supported a remarkable diversity of ideas, projects, and people, welcoming opportunities to provide for interdisciplinary interactions.
In making charitable grants, they were available to support people and organizations at critical times in their development, often giving them the boost that enabled them to be self-sustaining.
In projects that the Werner Erhard Foundation initiated, their intention was always that the project become self-sufficient. Perhaps the most outstanding example is the $100,000 start-up grant given to The Hunger Project. In less than one year, The Hunger Project became a completely independent, viable and effective organization. The Hunger Project became and remains international in scope and for over thirty years has played a significant role in developing a world-wide grass roots commitment to ending world hunger.
The Werner Erhard Foundation, originally the est Foundation, was supported by thousands of people throughout the world, many who have seen the Werner Erhard Foundation as a vehicle for expressing their commitment to transformation. They volunteered their time and services to the foundation to produce conferences, public presentations, and contributed to other specific projects.
Many distinguished individuals served on the Board of Directors, and each contributed a unique perspective to the work, giving the foundation vision, versatility, and viability.
All who contributed both financially and with services helped in making the work possible. It was the people involved that made the Werner Erhard Foundation not merely a source of funding, but a source of inspiration in support of research, communication, education, and scholarly endeavors in the fields of human well-being and transformation, both individual and social.