Quixote Foundation Records
Board Meetings, 1998-2016, consists primarily of agenda booklets distributed to board members at quarterly or thrice-yearly retreats, which contain information about strategic, financial, and operational concerns. Many materials include handwritten notes by Keneta Anderson, as well as official minutes and correspondence relating to board activities. A sub-series includes a variety of large-format paper easel notes from meetings in 2015. When viewed in combination, these materials present the opportunity to examine a variety of perspectives on the organization’s actions; the range of materials available for a single event can offer both a bottom-up and top-down take on philanthropic activity, from private notes to public presentations, from planning statements to after-the-fact summaries. A significant amount of material in the collection relates to the “spend up” celebration held in November, 2016, to commemorate the organization’s final push to expend its full resources. A large story map, produced for a meeting with the think tank Sightline Institute and its founder Alan Durning, is of particular note. This oversized art presents strategies and thematic concerns in pictorial and textual cartoons.
Administrative Files, 1997-2017, includes materials relating to the Quixote Foundation’s operations, policies, bylaws, and strategies, as well as statements of their institutional history and branding concerns. Many of these records came directly from the files of Keneta Anderson or Lenore Hanisch, reflecting their perspectives on the organization. The collection also includes storage devices for digital files pertaining to Quixote operations and backed up from institutional computers.
Financial, 1997-2015, is primarily the 990-PF tax forms and supporting documents filed by the organization, as well as investment information.
Subject Files, 2004-2010, contain information gathered and maintained by the Quixote team pertaining to the primary areas of interest for their funding concerns. This includes publications and conference materials, as well as internal organizational notes.
The Quixote Foundation and its board members were actively involved with sister foundations and core grantees, and Associated Organizations, 2003-2015, contains records of those interactions, including correspondence and conference proceedings. They were most heavily involved with the Election Verification Network and Northwest Reproductive Justice Collaborative, which the records reflect.
Grant Files, 1998-2017, make up the bulk of the collection of materials. These contain correspondence, reports, grant proposals and contracts, and financial information relating to the various projects and institutions funded by Quixote during their years of operation.
The Promotional Materials series contains a variety of brochures, mailers, marketing materials, and oversized advertising boards utilized by the Quixote Foundation, much of it undated. This includes a substantial amount of realia, most of it collected from the “Free, Fair, and Healthy” celebration held in November, 2016. The material gives a snapshot view of the quirky, fun nature of the organization, and their signature “Don” icon of a metal knight tilting at windmills appears throughout. This collection could be of particular use to researchers interested in the material culture of philanthropy and the ties between institutional culture and philanthropic missions.
The Photographs series includes photographs of “Team Q” at various events and retreats, particularly the “Free, Fair, and Healthy” celebration held in November, 2016.
- 1997 - 2018
- Quixote Foundation (Creator, Organization)
Language of Materials
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
12 Cubic Feet (10 record cartons, 1 oversized box, 1 oversized folder in a drawer, 4 tubes/spools of oversized papers) : Oversized box contains realia; objects are variously composed of cardboard, magnetic particles, textile, wood, and paper.
The records consist predominantly of grant files, with other materials including board meeting minutes, Forms 990-PF, publications, and other materials created by or for the organization.
In 2002, Stuart Hanisch passed away, shifting the timeline and focus of the organization, which moved its base of operations to Seattle, Washington. His son Erik and daughter-in-law Lenore Hanisch took over operations of the family foundation, ultimately adopting a limited-life policy, with strategic plans in place to spend the Quixote Foundation’s entire philanthropic budget. This resolve to hold the foundation to a 20-year life span took on new life as a “Spend Up” strategy within the organization’s vocabulary. This policy dictated much of their activities and funding choices from 2010 until the Quixote Foundation officially shut down operations in 2017.
The Quixote Foundation self-describes its mission as supporting five major fields of philanthropic interest: 1) independent media and media reform; 2) voter rights and election integrity; 3) reproductive rights and related women’s issues; 4) environmental equity, protection, and preservation; and 5) equality and civil rights. Major grantees receiving continued support over the years include Art Resources International, the Center for Media Justice, Media Democracy Fund, the Election Verification Network, the National Wildlife Federation, Planned Parenthood, Sightline Institute, the Wilderness Society, and the Women Donors Network, among many others. The organization also funded many local programs and national initiatives, sometimes with one-time grants for specific projects (for example, the “Girl Neighborhood Power” project of the Atwood Community Center in 2000).
The Quixote Foundation relied on close-knit relationships among its constituents, dubbed “Team Q” internally. Their major activities over the years focused around the activities of its Board of Directors, including Founder Stuart Hanisch until his death; Board President Erik Hanisch; Board Member and Senior Director of Engagement and Partnerships Lenore Hanisch; and Board Member and Executive Director June Wilson. The Quixote Foundation worked regularly with consultants Keneta Anderson, Bryan Jeffrey Graham, and Zarina Parpia, and its activities and meetings usually included a number of “core grantees.”
The foundation’s name is a nod to Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes, described on their website as “a rash romantic knight who travels the country taking on causes whose importance only he understands.” Corporate meetings and literature often revolved around the theme of tilting at windmills and the motto, “Free, Fair, and Healthy,” with a mission of seeing “free people in fair societies on a healthy planet.” Brand associations and the tagline “practice idealism” were designed to encourage putting values into action, countering the idea that practice and idealism were two separate activities. The “Don” icon found on promotional literature derives from a metal Don Quixote statue belonging to Stuart Hanisch, with its sentimental echoes and humor attempting to express “the fun and open side” of the Quixote Foundation.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Jacobs, Deborah L. "Foundations with a Limited Life." New York Times, November 11, 2010.
Quixote Foundation. http://www.quixotefoundation.org.
- Quixote Foundation Records, 1997-2018
- Processed by Catherine Walsh
- Description rules
- Language of description