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Our History

The SG Foundation was founded by Stuart C. Gildred Sr. along with co-founders Richard Kieding and William Sauer in 1984. From its inception the goal of the SG Foundation has been to help the less fortunate of the world to live better lives using the strong Judeo-Christian values of the founders as guidelines.

Stuart Gildred Sr. was the sole Trustee and President of the SG Foundation until May 26, 2001 when he passed away to be with our Lord. Prior to his passing Mr. Gildred appointed seven new trustees to carry on the work of the foundation. Richard Kieding, William Sauer, Joseph Lambert, and John Donati were already serving SG Foundation as an Advisory Board and accepted Mr. Gildred's request. Additionally, Mr. Gildred asked his wife Lynn Gildred, son Stuart C. Gildred Jr., and Russell Fraser to join the board. These seven individuals served the foundation on a voluntary basis with dedication and sincere compassion.  Richard Kieding became our second President and retired to honorary status in 2005. He was succeeded by William Sauer and in 2011 Lynn Gildred was elected President. She continues in this leadership role to the present time. The current trustees are Lynn Gildred, Stuart Gildred Jr., Tyler Gildred, Todd Gildred, and Duane Serritslev. Past trustees are Dick Kieding, Bill Sauer, Russell Fraser, Joseph Lambert, John Donati, and John Crowell.

Early in the history of SG Foundation certain guidelines were established by Stuart Gildred Sr. He decided that a small private foundation must of necessity limit itself in terms of grant consideration. He was opposed, for example, to funding large research projects or HIV/AIDS programs. Another firm rule was established by Mr. Gildred: although Judeo-Christian values guide the decisions of the Foundation trustees, no grants will be awarded for the sole or primary purpose of proselytizing. Mr. Gildred was most interested in smaller organizations that were committed to and capable of providing humanitarian services to the poor, especially long term development projects. He was partial to NGOs that might otherwise have difficulty obtaining funding. And, since the poorest of the poor are more readily found outside the boundaries of the United States, the majority of the annual grant budget was designated for international programs. As time passed grant and proposal guidelines were clarified. See our current Grant Focus Area and Proposal Guidelines sections for the current grant guidelines.

Most of the grants awarded by the SG Foundation can be described by one of the following categories: community development, agricultural development, adult literacy and youth education programs, village banking programs that promote entrepreneurial efforts, medical care, health and nutrition training, job training, and clean water projects. Some examples of recent grants follow.

The SG Foundation has enjoyed a long partnership with an organization in Honduras that provides services to the poor in almost all of the categories cited above. In recent years the funding has focused on an agro-industrial project which entails bringing water from the highlands to over 800 farming families in the lowlands in addition to providing agricultural training, harvesting assistance, packaging facilities, and marketing tools.

Several grants have been awarded to an agency to cover the initial costs of textbooks or computer labs for elementary schools in rural Guatemala. The program is self-sustaining once the initial funding is provided as students and parents contribute a small sum toward the inevitable time when the textbooks or computers must be replaced. As a result of these programs thousands of students have been able to advance their education. Another agency in Guatemala received a series of grants for a medical program which provides onsite treatment for patients living in the highlands and also works with indigenous people who travel from faraway villages to learn about anatomy, rudimentary healthcare, and treatment of common ailments. Without these health promoters many rural residents would not have any medical help.

In the Chiapas area of Mexico a grant was given to a program teaching impoverished Indians about proper nutrition and physical stimulation for children. We also support a group that encourages community organization through education and communication.

Haiti has long been a focus for SG Foundation grants as this is the poorest country in our hemisphere. We have worked with programs that establish relationships with rural peasant organizations to improve agricultural practices as well as helping to identify viable vocations outside the major cities. Some grants focus on early education and some on the problem of malnutrition. One organization received funding for an Akamil mill and another for teaching farmers to produce the ingredients for Nourimil. Other grants support clean water projects and basic health services.

In California the SG Foundation focuses on north Santa Barbara County and the central region of the state. In 2005 a student scholarship was established in memory of Stuart C. Gildred Sr., and it is funded annually. Several California programs receiving assistance work with developmentally challenged adults and at risk youth (vocational opportunities and leadership training). We have provided assistance for expansion of meals programs for the poor and for training of Christian urban leaders who move into impoverished neighborhoods and serve as tutors to children and more.

SG Foundation grants are issued in varying amounts but average $15,000 per grant. The Trustees approve grant amounts based upon the proven need for funding and compatibility with the SG Foundation goals. Over the years since inception this foundation has awarded over $40 million.

Geographically the foundation focuses on countries in Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Haiti internationally and north Santa Barbara County and Central California locally. Please see Grant Focus Area for more details.