Ted Waitt established the Waitt Foundation in 1993 to reflect his family’s heartfelt commitment to give back to the community by “helping good people do great things” through research and education. Since then, the foundation has donated over $118 million to non-profit and charitable organizations both at home and abroad.
The foundation’s initial focus was promoting positive change in “at-risk” communities throughout the Siouxland region where Ted was born. After investing millions of dollars in various programs, Ted concluded that the foundation’s work in domestic violence had the most measurable impact on those at risk today.
Moving its headquarters to the San Diego area in 1999, the foundation took advantage of the opportunity to broaden its goals and extend its reach to a new community. The creation of two operating institutes in 2005, the Waitt Institute and the Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention, enabled the foundation to expand program interests beyond community building initiatives into ocean conservation, exploration and discovery, and scientific innovation.
The Waitt Institute for Violence Prevention is a private operating foundation committed to breaking the cycle of violence in our homes, schools, and communities on the local and national level. The Waitt Family Foundation has supported violence prevention efforts since 1993. To streamline our efforts, WIVP was founded in 2005, by Ted Waitt. Through this work, we change social norms that accept violence as a part of life.
Gender violence prevention is at the forefront of our work. This movement in America and around the world has had many champions. Early leaders laid the groundwork from which we build. From the early shelter movement and political activism in the 60′s and 70′s to the establishment under President Bill Clinton of the Office of Violence Against Women in 1994, leaders began to intervene against the most damaging and pervasive form of violence in our country. We’ve come a long way and we honor the leaders who had the courage and perseverance to light the way. Movements, however, need a tipping point. This can happen through prevention. This can happen when you reach youth. This can happen when you bring men to the table. Along with other, early leaders and pioneers, that’s what we’re doing. Through our strong partnership with the Family Violence Prevention Fund, Mentors in Violence Prevention, and others, we hope to contribute to their work. Through our critical, deeper, on-ground work in Sioux City, Iowa, our hometown, to our national and international rollouts of violence prevention messages, to intense legislative activity, we can and expect to help decrease the devastation of gender violence.
School bullying and violence prevention is a vital part of this work. Reaching youth early and often is the key to changing attitudes and behaviors . A four year project in our hometown of Sioux City, Iowa will help demonstrate promising practices in gender violence prevention, and school bullying. Utilizing such programs as Mentors in Violence Prevention, The Family Violence Prevention Fund’s “Coaching Boys into Men,” and Second Step Violence Prevention programs in Elementary and pre-school, and supporting middle school curriculum such as Bully-Proofing Your School, we are creating seamless violence prevention education for every child in our city.
Workplace bullying prevention is another component to our work. In 2007, we began a partnership with the Workplace Bullying Institute. In September of 2007, we co-sponsored a national Zogby poll with WBI. The poll has helped inform both media outlets and the American public on the prevalence of this issue.
WIVP has been proud to sponsor three documentaries that tie into our work. As the first leading sponsor of the award winning documentary “Bully”, the Institute was instrumental in providing critical access and serves as Executive Producer. The Institute has also been a major supporter of the upcoming documentary, “Private Violence”, and sponsor of the web based “A New Kind of Strength, the Men’s Movement against gender violence”.
The Kind World Foundation
Founded by Norm Waitt Jr., the Kind World Foundation supports community enhancement, education, human services, and the arts. The foundation has supported and invested millions of dollars in a multitude of projects in Norm’s hometown in Sioux City such as the state of the art renovation of the Orpheum Theater, the new Girls Inc. headquarters, and the building of the Norm Waitt Sr. Y.
The Kind World Scholarship program in the Sioux City area, headed by Marcia Waitt and the Siouxland Community Foundation, has given over $500,000 to deserving high school seniors since its inception in 2009.
The Kind World Foundation has also supported programs in other cities, such as the Santa Barbara Bowl, the Santa Fe Folk Art Festival, and the new “Ice in Paradise” center in the Santa Barbara area.
The Kind World’s reach has gone international, as a result of its membership in the Clinton Global Initiative. KWF became an an early funder of ” H20 for Life”, a grassroots program featured on ABC’s Good Morning America, that connects American high school students with schools internationally in need of clean water, and the lauded “Rwanda Path to Peace” program, assisting Rwandan women artisans and their families.