About the Ham Foundation

 
 

History of the Formation of the Kendal C. and Anna Ham Foundation

Kendal and Anna Ham had long decided that their estates should support their charitable intentions. Kendal had previously taken care of his family through other estate planning means, and as the Hams had no children together, they focused their philanthropic goals on choosing which charities they would support. They planned on leaving their estates to several of the large, national charities focusing on human services.

After Kendal’s death in 1988 and through the efforts of her legal counsel, Anna began to refocus the couple’s philanthropic goals. She came to understand that rather than supporting the large, national charities and hoping they would be able to respond to local needs, her wealth would enable supporting local needs by creating a community based charitable organization. Anna began to re-evaluate what she and her late husband held most dear. They had lived for many years in Conway, New Hampshire and had a lakeside summer cottage on Moose Pond in Bridgton, Maine. These communities were welcoming and important places to the Hams, and Anna decided that they should be the primary focus of their philanthropic efforts.

The Kendal C. and Anna Ham Foundation was established in January, 1994, as a community foundation. The Foundation’s mission reflects the Hams’ desire to improve community life in both the Conway and Bridgton areas. Further, it was Anna’s desire that decisions on making grants throughout the community would be based on the ways in which a recipient program involved the community in its planning and implementation, and on the program’s potential and actual impact to the community, rather than be limited to a particular field or area of interest. This stems from her belief that the vitality of these communities depends on the ability of people to be responsible for themselves and concerned for one another.

Anna Ham served as Incorporator and Director from January, 1994, until her death in 1996. The Kendal C. and Anna Ham Foundation was initially funded with $1,000,000 by Anna Ham. She was instrumental in the design of the Advisory Boards for each of the two communities, selecting the people who served with her on the Board of Directors and the Advisory Boards and evaluating the grant proposals. After her death, the balance of her wealth was distributed to the Foundation.