A letter from PGDF Executive Director Elizabeth Cairns:

Dear Friends,

As part of our ongoing strategic shift from private foundation to public charity, the Peter G. Dodge Foundation (PGDF) is developing several new initiatives that clarify and enhance the ways in which we carry out our mission.

Over the past year, we have invested our resources in infrastructure that ultimately will allow our substantial growth. This infrastructure included:

  • Building a fundraising program from the ground up through contracting with staff and performing intensive outreach
  • Obtaining and configuring database software that allows us to manage constituent relationships more effectively
  • Updating our organizational status with the IRS
  • Registering for charitable solicitation with all states that require it
  • Completing more rigorous financial documentation for greater transparency
  • Expanding our capability to receive and manage funds
  • Revising our communication materials to reflect our new objectives

As we began to engage prospective partners, we noticed that our activities and plans fell neatly into three areas. Our new programs, outlined below, formalize these areas and give us a framework from which to grow and to attract support going forward.

Coalition to Advance Alcohol Recovery and Treatment (CAART)

Grantmaking is at the heart of PGDF’s mission. The Coalition to Advance Alcohol Recovery and Treatment (CAART) provides a model for collaborative philanthropy as we shift from private foundation to public charity.

CAART unites those who want to help improve treatment options, elevate awareness, and facilitate access to recovery from alcohol addiction. By pooling funds, coalition members tackle big issues and effect systemic change.

CAART’s objectives include:

  • Hastening the development of new medications and interventions for alcohol addiction
  • Conducting public awareness campaigns on how to connect to effective treatment and plan recovery
  • Addressing obstacles that hinder people from accessing treatment

With private funding in the addiction space far below that of other major health conditions, CAART stands to play a pivotal role in supporting advancements that positively impact those seeking recovery from alcohol use disorder.

Benefits of coalition membership include:

  • Achieving greater return on investment through pooling funds
  • Eliminating unnecessary competition and duplicated effort
  • Gaining access to PGDF’s established capabilities in effective grantmaking and rigorous proposal review
  • Providing input at all stages of proposal selection
  • Receiving a full report on outcomes at the conclusion of each grant cycle

To join or to learn more about CAART, please contact Chief Development Officer Jana Olslund.

Bootstrap Recovery

Since PGDF was founded in 2014, our online Treatment Guide has been an important part of what we do. We are now working to develop it further by creating a printed recovery planning guide. We will ultimately migrate our existing guide to a separate website and will be adding new resources.

Why are we calling it Bootstrap Recovery? To “pull oneself up by one’s bootstraps” is a metaphor for succeeding using only one’s own resources. While any recovery plan will involve help from others, by “bootstrapping” recovery, we hope to give those seeking help with their alcohol use the resources to assemble a variety of supports— a recovery toolkit. We hope to empower them to address issues with alcohol on their own terms, increasing chances for success.

Young Philanthropists Initiative (YPI)

According to Bloomberg Wealth, Americans with net worth of over $25 million are getting younger and more numerous, but fewer and fewer are donating funds to charitable causes. Inspired by the Giving Pledge, Young Philanthropists Initiative (YPI) is a peer community designed to encourage those under 50 to engage in philanthropy. Program details are in progress and will be announced as they develop.


Establishing these programs represents a shift for PGDF from a top-down private donor to a vehicle for collaboration. We are working to engage stakeholders across the field to address a pressing need for funding addiction recovery programs—and not just “heads-in-beds,” but those who are applying innovative, evidence-based methodology to treat AUD like the health condition it is. We remain committed to advancing new treatment options, elevated awareness, and facilitated access to recovery. Our shift in structure allows us to channel the funds and energy of everyone who cares about this issue in order to create real change.

Will we accept grant applications in 2019?

As most of you know, we paused our grant cycle in 2018 in order to build the infrastructure for this shift. We are optimistic that we will be able to open the application process in July 2019, with a deadline of October 1. If you would like to apply, please be sure you are subscribed to our email list and/or following us on social media (links below).  We will update the Grants page of our website and post via those avenues when the request for proposals is ready.

We are grateful, as always, for your friendship and support, and we look forward to sharing new developments with you as they happen.

With warm regards,

Elizabeth Cairns
Executive Director

The Peter G. Dodge Foundation (PGDF) is a national, publicly-supported grantmaking foundation dedicated to helping people lead lives free from the effects of alcohol addiction. As the only non-governmental funder focused on this issue, our work is critical to the health of the 16 million Americans who suffer with the deadly disease of alcohol use disorder.