Overview of our Mission
We are a private non-profit organization devoting our resources to education for a more peaceful society, to promoting social equity, human rights, and responsibility for the environment. We fund other non-profit organizations engaged in this work, we give educational opportunities to young people to volunteer in our work, and we engage in scientific research relating to climate change issues.
Over the years, with changing world politics and power structures, our mission has changed. In 1969 when LF was founded, one of the most pressing concerns was whether the US and the Soviet Union would accidentally or intentionally start a nuclear war. As LF was being incorporated this was foremost in Irving Laucks' mind.
The language of our original charter of 1969 provides an interesting glimpse of a much different time and its concerns. Our Articles of Incorporation state that Laucks Foundation's purpose is to study and attempt to rectify: 1) the threat of a third world war, 2)inequities among people as to material things by helping people find opportunities for a better life, and 3)the threat of technological supremacy of machines and materialism over human beings and the earth.
Although the threat of nuclear war has diminished since the Cold War and the Union of Concerned Scientists has dropped "nuclear weapons" to last in the list of concerns of its scientists, these three purposes remain resonant with today's world. We would speak of the problems in different language: instead of the threat of the third world war we would now speak of the threat of regional wars in the world and the devastation of lives they cause; instead of the threat of technological supremacy of machines over human beings and the earth we would speak of climate change, spying by the NSA, inhumane treatment of farm animals, environmental collapse of ecosystems, sweatshop labour, abuse of human rights by governments, corporations, militants, and individuals. As for inequities among people, this language remains understandable in today's world where Walmart's CEO earns 1000 times the average worker's salary.
Since 2007 LF has funded and sought funds for scientific research in the public interest, specifically research on the growth and habit of ice crystals and their role in the formation and persistence of clouds in the atmosphere, with the aim of improving global climate models so that the uncertainties in estimates of human induced climate change can be reduced.
History of Foundation
Irving and Eulah Laucks founded the Laucks Foundation in 1969 as a response to the cold war and the threat of nuclear war. After the devastation of Hiroshima Irving came to believe that the Soviet Union and the US must disarm their nuclear forces, and if there was no other way, the US must do so unilaterally. He believed that without limits to the arms race, the human race would surely cease to exist. In the later 20 years of his life he devoted all of his energy and assets to convincing people of the truth of these ideas. He founded LF as a means to help in these efforts.
After Irving's death in 1981, Eulah became president and interpreted LFs mission in a broader way. Beginning in 1979 Eulah began to edit what she called "The Reprint Mailing" of LF, bringing together articles that she felt were important and thought-provoking. She sent out the Reprint Mailing on an occasional basis, usually at least two or three a year, to a large and eclectic list of her friends and the many acquaintances she had made over the years.
In the early 1980s LF sponsored lectures, classes, manuscripts in progress, dissemination of articles, workshops and conferences mostly focused on how to educate for world peace and disarmament. LF worked with The Hutchins Center at University of Santa Barbara (UCSB), the Peace and Justice Center of Southern California, the Rocky Mountain Institute, and the University of Santa Barbara to name a few.
Beginning in 1985 and continuing through 2000, LF sponsored a class at UCSB, taught by Walter Capps of the Religious Studies department, on the Vietnam War and its impact on American moral and religious values. The class was to become one of the most popular at UCSB during those years, the demand for the class continually exceeding the limit of 900 places.
In the mid 1980s LF began funding the Land Institute in Salina Kansas in its work on perennial grains and the quest for solving the problem of agriculture. This support continued through 2010. From 1992 to 2000, LF also supported various other environmental organizations such as Native Seed Search of Tuscon Arizona and the Community Environmental Council of Santa Barbara. In 1997 Eulah Laucks stepped down as President and Mary Laucks was elected as President, Brian Swanson as Vice President. Eulah Laucks continued as Chair of the Board until her death in 2008.
Beginning in 2000, LF began to focus on the problems of homelessness, social equity and human rights. The directors believed that with limited resources, LF should focus on organizations just starting out, where LF's limited funds could have the most impact. Among the organizations that LF funded were FareStart, a Seattle based organization that trains homeless people for jobs restaurants, First Place, a school and daycare for homeless families, and the Arab American Community Council, an organization formed to deflect the misplaced anger directed at the Arab American community after 9/11.
In 2007 LF added scientific research for the public good as another purpose of incorporation and Brian Swanson moved his ice crystal growth research lab from the University of Washington to the Laucks Foundation.
From 2008 to the present LF has continued to offer seed money to small start-up organizations in the Northwest. Among the organizations it funded are SWOVA (Salt Spring Women Opposed to Violence and Abuse) of Salt Spring Island BC, Seattle Jazz Ed, Seattle Music Partners, Victoria Cool Aid REES program of Victoria BC, Green Plate Special of Seattle. In 2010 Dwight Gee was elected to the Board of Directors as Secretary and brings his invaluable experience of the non-profit world to our Board.