Originally the Fleur and Gardner Cowles Charitable Fund was established by Gardner Cowles Jr. who patterned it after the Gardner and Florence Call Cowles Trust, created by his parents.
There are only broad guidelines from 1948, a revision with name change in 1956. On April 15th, 1983, Gardner Cowles Jr wrote a letter to future trustees of the Cowles Charitable Trust, which is quoted here:
“I have the policy of not giving to any individual. I would recommend the policy be continued. If you start making contributions to individuals, you will get overwhelmed by the flood of requests. We are not equipped to check the validity of the individuals.
I would hope that the bulk of the money given by the Cowles Charitable Trust, in the first few years after my death, would go to those institutions and organizations which I have supported consistently over the years.”
There is the utmost goal of preservation of the Trust for future generations of philanthropic stewardship.
The founding by-laws of the Trust are extremely broad. There are no limitations of who we can give to as long as the charitable organization is recognized as such by the IRS 501c(3)
We try to guard the principal of the Trust so that we can continue to support those 501c(3) that are of interest to the majority of the trustees.
An organization may only apply and or receive a grant once in any year. In 2011 we did not give out any grants in order to allow the trust to invest all the income it earned from its investments and thereby grow even further. Currently we give 5% of our total value.