Pickett Fund closes after 29 years

Lilly and Clarence Pickett on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary, 1953. Photo: Theodore B. Hetzel/AFSC Archives.


In February, the Clarence and Lilly Pickett Endowment for Quaker Leadership announced that it is closing and moving its remaining assets to related Quaker philanthropic groups.

The Pickett Endowment was established in 1991 in honor of the Picketts to encourage the development of Quaker leadership. Between 1994 and 2019, the endowment provided grants totaling over $325,000 to 150 Friends across the United States and across the Quaker theological spectrum.

At their annual board meeting in March 2018, the Pickett trustees evaluated the fund’s mission and the current vitality of young adult leadership in the Religious Society of Friends. Through their discernment, they identified other organizations better doing the work that the Pickett Endowment was established to facilitate, and they decided to transition the close to $1 million left in the fund.

The Pickett Fund named three successor organizations: (1) Quaker Voluntary Service, (2) the young adult programming of Friends Committee on National Legislation, and (3) Pendle Hill conference center’s work with young adult Friends. These organizations have each received a portion of the Pickett endowment with stipulations that the funds are to be used in continuing faithfulness to the original purpose: to nurture and develop emerging leadership in the Religious Society of Friends.

In addition, the Pickett trustees also awarded funds to three programs that they saw to be continuing their work: (1) the Mpatapo conflict resolution curriculum of Ujima Friends Peace Center in Philadelphia, Pa.; (2) the leadership development program for emerging leaders at Kaleo Academy of Barclay College in Haviland, Kans.; and (3) Earlham School of Religion’s Entrepreneurial Ministry certificate program based in Richmond, Ind.

Christina Repoley, a Pickett Fund grantee and founder of Quaker Voluntary Service, spoke about the Picketts in a video looking back at their legacy:

Clarence and Lilly Pickett were some of the most important people for the Religious Society of Friends, particularly Clarence Pickett who was one of the earliest leaders of the American Friends Service Committee. . . . When I look at the long list of people who have received grants from the Pickett Endowment, I see the names of many of my friends and peers and colleagues who were supported at a time in our lives when there weren’t many other opportunities for support in the Quaker context to say, “We believe in you as a young adult Friend, and we are investing in your leadership development.”

“We believe the present and future of Quaker leadership is bright,” said Anna Crumley-Effinger, clerk of trustees for the fund. “The Pickett Endowment’s transitioned funds will boost support to young adult Friends exploring vocation, ministry, and Spirit-led activism. Our hope is that Clarence and Lilly’s legacy inspires each of us to identify and support Friends around us who are seeking to put their faith into action.”

FJ News Editor

Erik Hanson and Windy Cooler are the news editors for Friends Journal. They contributed to the reporting of this story. Do you know about any Quaker news stories we should be covering? Send us tips at news@friendsjournal.org.

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