Scope and arrangement
The Twenty-First Century Foundation Records date from the founding of the Foundation in 1971 through 1984 with one printed report dated 1992, and document the history of one of the few black controlled foundations in this country.
The Foundation records encompass administrative records consisting of minutes of board of directors meetings, committee files, and legal correspondence; general correspondence relating to the Foundation's fund raising efforts and general administrative functions. In addition, there are both funded and non-funded proposals submitted by organizations to the Foundation, records for the achievement awards dinner and for the Clarence L. Holte Prize.
The Twenty-First Century Foundation (New York, N.Y.) records are arranged in five series:
The series ADMINISTRATION, 1971-1992 (1.2 lin. ft.)consists of background information regarding the purpose and origin of the Foundation, lists of board members and their resumes, minutes of board meetings, correspondence and memoranda between the board and staff members, and reports by President Browne and other staff to the board. In addition, there is correspondence for the Educational Advisory and Development committees, financial records, legal correspondence and printed matter including activity reports and the Foundation's newsletter, “Extensions.”
The series GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE, 1972-1981 1.6 lin. ft.)had originally been kept as a “Chronological File” in the Foundation's executive director's records. Much of the correspondence with organizations (duplicated in the individual organization files in the Grant Proposal series) deals with the Foundation's grant-making process. The bulk of the correspondence with corporations in the early 1970's relates to the request for funds to increase the Foundation's endowment. In addition, there is correspondence relating to the Clarence L. Holte Prize, the 1977 fund raising basketball game, as well as day-to-day issues. The occasional press release about the Foundation can also be found in this series and lists of correspondents and donors are included for some years. There is some duplication of material housed in the Administration series, such as copies of memoranda and reports Browne wrote to the board of directors, and memoranda to the director of development, Ralph G. Byrd.
In May 1981 the Foundation sponsored a one-day training conference entitled “Telecommunications: Potentials for Empowerment” focusing on minority access and participation in the telecommunications industry with respect to training, employment, funding, resources, and software and hardware development. Correspondence also relates to this conference.
The ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS DINNER, 1976-1977 (.2 lin. ft.)series consists of correspondence pertaining to the June 21, 1977 dinner sponsored by the Foundation honoring three outstanding African-American board members of American corporations. The correspondence relates to the planning of the dinner with the aid of Suzanne Mendelssohn, Inc., a fund raising consultant, acceptances and declinations to the dinner, financial records, contributions made by attendees, seating list, remarks by Browne, and post-dinner correspondence.
The largest series, GRANT PROPOSALShas been divided into two subseries. Funded Proposals,1972-1983 (4.2 lin. ft.) is comprised of grant proposals and correspondence with the organizations which received funding from the Twenty-First Century Foundation. Information for each organization may include the following: letter requesting funding; formal grant application which includes objectives of organization, means of achieving them and a description of the project; background material; grant agreement; follow-up correspondence and reports. The vast majority of organizations received one grant from the Foundation; occasionally one or two follow-up grants were awarded.
Recipients of grants are located nationwide, however the bulk are in southern and eastern states; the geographic distribution extends to Alabama, California, Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, New Jersey, and New York as well as Washington, D.C. A sampling of organizations includes Greene County Economic Development Center in Eutaw, Alabama; Los Angeles Brotherhood Crusade; Institute of Positive Education in Chicago; Mississippi Action for Community Education; Missouri Delta Ecumenical Ministry; Negro Ensemble Company and Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration (both in New York); Texas Farmworkers Union Law Office; and Center for Third World Organizing in Washington, D.C.
The order of the folders as arranged by the Foundation (125 grants) has been maintained; the folders are numbered sequentially in chronological order by the year in which they were awarded. If a grant was to extend for a period that covered two calendar years, for example mid-1976 to mid-1977, only the first year is indicated on the folder; however there may be material such as printed matter and/or correspondence from earlier and later years contained within the folder.
The final series in this collection is the CLARENCE L. HOLTE PRIZE, 1975-1984 (.8 lin. ft.).Biographical information about Clarence L. Holte and his writings are included. The bulk of the series concerns the awarding of this literary prize to the three awardees who received the honor during the time the Foundation administered it. Records include regulations, biographical information about all nominees, and correspondence with jurors about the nominees and the jurors' reasons for selecting a particular individual. Information regarding recipients includes press releases, news clippings, and material pertaining to the awards ceremony. Correspondence with Holte from 1978 and 1984 deals with the establishment of the prize and the subsequent transfer of the administration of the prize to the Phelps-Stokes Fund.