foundation

foundation

[foun-dey-shuhn]
foundation, institution through which private wealth is contributed and distributed for public purpose. Foundations have existed since Greek and Roman times, when they honored deities. During the Middle Ages in Europe the church had many foundations, and in the Arab lands the waqf, or pious endowment, developed with the growth of Islam. In modern times European foundations, generally smaller than their U.S. counterparts, have been closely regulated by the state (e.g., the Nobel prizes; see Nobel, Alfred Bernhard).

In the United States there were a few early foundations, notably those endowed by Benjamin Franklin in 1791 to provide funds for loans to "young married artificers of good character" and by James Smithson in 1846 for the establishment of the Smithsonian Institution; however, it was not until after the Civil War that foundations developed rapidly. Social disintegration in the South and the establishment of early foundations such as the Peabody Education Fund and the John F. Slater Fund (both designed to provide educational opportunities for African Americans in the South) promoted the movement. The rapid growth of northern industrial enterprise in the postbellum years brought with it an accumulation of huge private fortunes. By the turn of the century, persuasive preachers of the "social gospel" urged the wealthy to meet their charitable obligations to society. Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, Sr., in the period 1896 to 1918, led the way in creating foundations that could distribute their enormous wealth in what was considered to be the most efficient and socially beneficent manner.

Favorable income tax laws in the 1940s further spurred philanthropic activity. During the early 1950s many American foundations were attacked by right-wing journalists and Congressmen; between 1950 and 1953 the House of Representatives conducted two separate investigations into "subversion and Communist penetration" of the nation's philanthropic foundations. Attacks on the foundations began to subside, however, with the passing of the so-called McCarthy era. Although a number of foundations have been restricted by their charters to specific philanthropic functions, the larger U.S. foundations have devoted themselves to broad areas (see separate articles on Lilly Endowment, Inc.; Ford Foundation; Rockefeller Foundation; Sloan Foundation; and Commonwealth Fund). The 1980s and 90s saw a doubling in the number of grantmaking foundations, including those developed by financier George Soros and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. Due in part to economic prosperity, foundation giving doubled between 1990 and 1998 to $19.5 billion. In 1997, the largest recipients of grant dollars were education, health, and human services.

See also philanthropy.

See M. Cuninggim, Private Money and Public Service (1972); W. A. Nielsen, The Big Foundations (1972) and The Endangered Sector (1979); D. N. Layton, Philanthropy and Voluntarism: A Bibliography (1987); Foundation Center Staff, Guide to U.S. Foundations, Their Trustees, Officers, and Donors (2 vol., 1999).

U.S. philanthropic foundation. It was established in 1936 with gifts and bequests from Henry Ford and his son, Edsel (1893–1943). By the early 21st century its assets exceeded $10 billion. Its chief concerns have been international affairs (particularly population control and alleviation of food shortages), humanities and the arts, communications (especially public television), and, in later years, resources and the environment.

Learn more about Ford Foundation with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Foundation's Edge is a novel by Isaac Asimov, the fourth book in the Foundation Series. It was written thirty years after the Foundation trilogy, in 1982, due to pressure by fans on Asimov to write another, and, according to Asimov himself, the amount of the payment offered by the publisher. It was his first novel to ever land on the New York Times best-seller list, after 262 books and 44 years of writing.

Foundation's Edge won the Hugo Award for Best Novel in 1983, and was nominated for the Nebula Award for Best Novel in 1982.

Plot summary

The Mayor of Terminus, Harla Branno, is basking in a political glow, after an appearance by the holographic Hari Seldon. Five hundred years after the Foundation's beginnings, her policies have been vindicated by Seldon's Plan. However, on this day, Golan Trevize, a Councilman with an unusual intuition, questions whether the Second Foundation, which is thought to be extinct, is still controlling events. He first makes his feelings known to a fellow Councilman, Munn Li Compor, who has sold Trevize out to the Mayor. Trevize then brazenly attacks Branno's policies in a Council meeting, in which he is arrested for treason and removed. Branno was waiting for Trevize to openly challenge her, on a day when her political power was highest, and contrives a plan to remove Trevize from Terminus. She orders him to leave and to search for the Second Foundation. As a cover, he is to be accompanied by one Janov Pelorat, a professor of Ancient History, who is searching for Earth, the long-lost homeworld of humanity.

Simultaneously, on the world of Trantor, Stor Gendibal, a young but rising intellect in the Second Foundation hierarchy, discovers a secret he reveals to the current First Speaker — that the Seldon Plan, which the Second Foundation diligently protects and furthers along, is controlled by an organization more powerful than the Second Foundation. He also asks why Trevize was exiled from Terminus, and believes he is a "lightning rod" sent out to locate and expose the Second Foundation.

Shortly after, while exercising before a Table meeting, Gendibal is accosted and nearly assaulted by Hamish farmers, and is saved by the tongue of a Hamishwoman berating the farmer. Although his mental powers can easily handle the Hamish, it is illegal to enter their minds.

Mayor Harla Branno, fearing the Foundation Council will soon raise their voices in concern for Trevize, blackmails Compor and sends him out in another vessel to pursue Trevize.

Once at the Table meeting, Gendibal raises the hostility of the Table by making the accusation of attempted murder, as someone at the Table had plotted to make Gendibal late to the meeting by arranging the conflict with the farmers. Led by an opportunistic Table member, Delora Delarmi, the Table votes to impeach Gendibal.

Trevize and Pelorat, having been "exiled" in a very advanced new Foundation cruiser, start discussing Pelorat's interest in Earth and its legends. At first indifferent and dubious, Trevize becomes interested in Earth when he realizes that Seldon's phrase "at the other end of the Galaxy" (the phrase he used to describe the Second Foundation's location) could mean Earth, as being the very first world of humanity when compared to Terminus. He tells Pelorat that, instead of going to Trantor to study in the Galactic Library, they are going to the world of Sayshell to follow up on another historical lead of Pelorat's.

Meanwhile, after several days of waiting, the Second Foundation Table finally begins its trial of Gendibal. With only the First Speaker's weak support in the face of the Table unified under Delarmi's hostility, Gendibal decisively puts down the Table's effort by introducing a witness, Sura Novi — the Hamishwoman who saved him. He shows the Table a very minute and subtle change in the woman's mind, that could only have been done by an agency more powerful than the Second Foundation, and warns that these "Anti-Mules" have an agenda of their own that the Second Foundation does not know, but are unwitting pawns of. He also warns that Trevize has moved halfway across the Galaxy in under half an hour, in his very advanced spacecraft, and has not gone to Trantor as predicted, but rather to Sayshell, for unknown reasons. Both Gendibal and the First Speaker try to move the Table into understanding that the Second Foundation may have very little time remaining in which to act.

The impeachment is suspended, but Delarmi maneuvers to have Gendibal and the Hamishwoman sent out in space to track Trevize and to determine the goals of the "Anti-Mules." Gendibal agrees, and the First Speaker declares that if Gendibal returns alive, he will make Gendibal the next First Speaker, thus quashing Delarmi's machinations for his post.

Trevize and Pelorat land in Sayshell and make for a tourist center to learn about local universities. They are met by Compor, who explains how he was manipulated by Mayor Branno and forced to follow Trevize. He tries to make peace with Trevize, and fails. He tells the two men a story about a radioactive Earth, and leaves. Trevize, using his intuition, realizes that Compor must be an agent of the Second Foundation.

On Sayshell, they meet with Professor Quinsentz, who is able to give them the co-ordinates to the mysterious Gaia. They discover that Gaia is a superorganism, where all things, both living and inanimate, are connected consciously. The planet is inhabited by humans, and Pelorat slowly falls in love with a woman named Bliss, and Trevize learns that he will be forced to decide the future of the galaxy.

Once he trades ships with Compor, Gendibal is met by another ship, a First Foundation warship, commanded by Mayor Branno. As Gendibal's mental powers stalemate with Mayor Branno's force shield, Novi reveals herself as an agent of Gaia. Once she joins the stalemate, the three are locked until Trevize can join them.

Bliss admits to Trevize that he had been led to Gaia so that his untouched mind, a mind with amazing intuition, could decide the galaxy's fate. He also learns that the stalemate between the First Foundation (Branno), the Second Foundation (Gendibal), and Gaia (Novi) was intentional, and that through the ship's computer, he would decide who would ultimately prove victorious.

Trevize decides upon Gaia, and through mind changes, Gaia makes Branno and Gendibal believe they have won minor victories, and that Gaia doesn't exist. Trevize is troubled because he wants to know why he chose Gaia. The notion of his "intuition" wasn't, to his mind, enough. He needed to know, and he was sure Earth had something to do with it. Trevize also mentions that his choice of Gaia is because he knows he can change his decision, due to the slowness of Gaia's processes.

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