Arcus Foundation

Our Values & Culture

Adopted February 1, 2008

We Believe:

  1. The inherent dignity, value and worth of all human beings around the world must be upheld regardless of race, gender, socio-economic class, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
  2. Violence, racism, gender injustice, classism and homophobia must be eradicated around the world.
  3. All individuals have a right and responsibility to full participation in society.
  4. All members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community deserve to be welcomed, celebrated and to become an integral part of a healthy society.
  5. Communities are interdependent and composed of diverse perspectives; we must continually stress our common values, value our differences, and work on mutually positive endeavors.
  6. We should strive to develop an attitude of acceptance, appreciation and affirmation of all forms of diversity. Diversity is an asset.
  7. Investing in youth is essential for their future and our community.

We Believe:

  1. We should strive to develop a culture that fosters social activism that works to counter injustice.
  2. We must walk, march, vote, protest and always break the silence until justice is upheld.
  3. It is our responsibility to encourage and invest in individual and collective ability, creativity and leadership.
  4. Education and knowledge can be antidotes to intolerance and bigotry.

We Believe:

  1. It is our responsibility to challenge popular culture, media, faith communities, religious institutions and texts that perpetuate the devaluation of people based on race, gender, class, sexual orientation and gender identity.
  2. Personal spirituality is an important realm of our freedom; true spirituality can never be institutionally coerced.
  3. Separation of state and religious institutions is fundamental to thriving democracies and freedom.
  4. Human expression and creativity are hugely important to the quality of our daily lives, inform how we understand our predecessors and their communities, and will shape our future legacy.
  5. It is profoundly important to fight for the freedom of expression.
  6. Supporting the freedom of expression gives lasting value and meaning to our lives and promotes personal and community expression.

We Believe:

  1. Everyone has a responsibility to work for a healthy and sustainable natural environment.
  2. All non-human animals have the right to live free of human cruelty and abuse.
  3. Emotions are not exclusively human; they are unique gifts that progressively evolved in other species and are experienced in different forms by most animals.
  4. Logical and rational thinking will help us preserve the natural world and ourselves.


  1. Goals and impact determine strategies
  2. Honesty
  3. Integrity
  4. Transparency

The Arcus Foundation acknowledges and appreciates the fact that many individuals and institutions provided inspiration to us in the process of developing our organizational core values.

What We Support

The creation of a more just and humane world, based on diversity, equality, and fundamental respect.


The Arcus Foundation’s social justice strategy aims to enable individuals and families of every sexual orientation and gender identity, race, and ethnicity to live their lives with dignity and respect, and express their love and sense of self wherever they are in the world.

Read about the strategy or download the brochure.

Stories of Impact

Uniting for Social Change

Leaders from several Kalamazoo nonprofits have been given a unique opportunity to look beyond immediate needs and work for long-term change through the Arcus Foundation’s Michigan Racial and Economic Justice Initiative. Read more >>

Liberation through Religion: A Conversation with Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum’s life traces the arc of the LGBT rights movement. Today, as the rabbi of the largest LGBT synagogue in the world, she is one of the country’s preeminent religious voices for progressive values. Read more >>