Mission and History
A Forever Family:
The Legacy of Jim Casey
This film tells powerful personal stories of lives, families, and communities transformed through the loving bequest of UPS founder Jim Casey. (23:15) Watch video >>
The primary mission of the Annie E. Casey Foundation is to foster public policies, human-service reforms and community supports that more effectively meet the needs of today’s vulnerable children and families. In pursuit of this goal, the Foundation makes grants that help states, cities and neighborhoods fashion more innovative, cost-effective responses to these needs.
The Annie E. Casey Foundation was established in 1948 by Jim Casey and his siblings George, Harry and Marguerite. They named the philanthropy in honor of their mother, who had struggled to raise them as a young widow. But the Foundation’s history really starts back in 1907, when Jim Casey began a messenger service in Seattle, Washington, to help his family make ends meet. That small family business became the global, multi-billion dollar UPS.
Jim Casey had no children, and by 1948 he had amassed wealth beyond his personal needs. In that year, he and his siblings began the charitable foundation named for their mother, reflecting Jim’s belief that the future chances of kids depends largely on what their parents -- their families -- are able to provide emotionally, ethically and materially.
For about 20 years, the Casey Foundation was a small operation primarily funding a camp for disadvantaged children in Seattle.
By the mid-1960s, when Jim Casey gave up his administrative responsibilities as chief executive officer of UPS, he turned his attention to reshaping the focus of the Foundation. He decided to launch Casey Family Programs, an independent operating foundation headquartered in Seattle, which provides direct services to foster youth and families and promotes improvements in child welfare practice and policy.
When UPS moved its headquarters to the East coast, similar programs to improve foster care were established in New England that later became Casey Family Services, the Foundation’s former child welfare agency that provided direct services to children and families across New England and in Maryland. Casey Family Services closed at the end of 2012.
Upon his death in 1983, Jim Casey bequeathed a substantial amount to the Foundation. More than half of the Foundation’s newly enlarged endowment was reserved for the purpose of making grants to organizations, agencies, and systems across the country that were in the business of helping disadvantaged kids.
In 1994, the Casey Foundation relocated its headquarters to Baltimore. By that time, a series of major multi-year, multi-site system reform initiatives were already providing relationships and lessons that shape Casey’s current and future projects.
Jim Casey once said that "what is needed is a renewed determination to think creatively, to learn from what has succeeded and what has failed, and, perhaps most important, to foster a sense of common commitment among all those concerned with the welfare of children." Over the years, the Annie E. Casey Foundation has tried to grow its agenda, ambition and vision in ways consistent with its founding.