The General Service Foundation is a private foundation that was incorporated under the laws of the State of Illinois in 1946. It was founded and endowed by Clifton R. Musser (1869 to 1956,) and his wife, Margaret Kulp Musser (1875 to 1967.) The majority of General Service Foundation's Board is comprised of family members. Since its inception, non-family members have served on the Board of Directors as well, in order to broaden the understanding of issue areas, bring in new ideas and help Trustees and staff increase their effectiveness as grantmakers.

Because of the ever-changing nature of social, economic and political conditions, the Board of Directors has followed the practice of frequently reviewing the Foundation's Contribution Policy and Guidelines. We recognize that the Foundation's resources are small in relation to the world's needs, and it is imperative to make careful assessment and selection of both the program areas and the guidelines within each area. The Directors believe that the Foundation can make its best contribution at this point in time by addressing some of the world's basic long-term problems in these areas: Human Rights and Economic Justice, Reproductive Justice and the Colorado program.

Mission Statement

General Service Foundation dedicates all of our resources to bringing about a more just and sustainable world. In the next five years, we will achieve our goals by nurturing and learning from strategic partnerships, embracing risk and possibility, and aligning every aspect of our organization with our deeply held values and beliefs.

Purpose and Values

Through its grantmaking and operations, the General Service Foundation aims to accomplish the most good for humanity. The following core values and beliefs guide every decision we make. From the grants we award, to the structure of our board and staff teams, to our daily operations and communications, we are committed to:


  • Having courage to advance a bold, inspirational vision
  • Identifying and creating space for new, effective, and diverse leaders
  • Organizational leadership that reflects the change it seeks to create


  • Assuring the practice of our core values and principles
  • Aligning internal and external practices along core values
  • Being honest with ourselves and others
  • Exercising power ethically and responsibly


  • Ensuring the Foundation and our grantees represent a range of backgrounds, perspectives and experiences
  • Recognizing that diversity builds strength
  • Celebrating and honoring differences


  • Being creative and thinking outside the box
  • Accepting risk and learning from unexpected outcomes or mistakes
  • Trying new strategies when old ones aren't working
  • Valuing curiosity and the process of learning


  • Communicating clearly our requirements and expectations
  • Understanding our responsibilities to each other, and the consequences of not carrying them out
  • Honoring our role as stewards of the public's trust and the foundation's mission


  • Treating every individual with respect and dignity
  • Pursuing fairness and equity
  • Respecting and upholding human rights
  • Ensuring that those affected by problems have the opportunity and power to create solutions


  • Seeking out and supporting the best and the brightest
  • Setting the bar high and leading by example
  • Holding ourselves and our partners to the highest standard of character
  • Understanding and pursuing best practices in philanthropy