History/Philosophy

In 1873 Oscar F. Mayer immigrated to the United States from Germany with the dream of opening his own butcher shop. Ten years later on the north side of Chicago his dream was realized. From that day in 1883 until the sale of Oscar Mayer & Company in 1981 to General Foods Corporation (now a part of Kraft Foods), four generations of Mayers led and directed the growth and prosperity of this successful family enterprise.

Through the foresight and wisdom of Oscar G. Mayer, the son of Oscar F. Mayer, the Oscar G. & Elsa S. Mayer Family Foundation was established in 1965. While the focus and emphasis of the Foundation’s activities can change to reflect issues and concerns of the day, the Board endeavors to use the philosophy of this great man, and the values used to establish and grow a successful company, to direct its grant-making activities.

In order to gain maximum impact the Foundation will direct its attention on a few fields of activity and on certain priorities within those fields. Our selections will be subject to change, as we learn from our grant-making experience.

Of major interest are programs which promote those skills and activities of society leading to a happier, healthier, and more productive life. While the Foundation enjoys a rich heritage of focusing support toward agencies in Chicago, Illinois, Wisconsin, and the Midwest, worthy organizations in other geographical areas having projects or programs that align with our current focus can be considered.


© 2017 Oscar G. & Elsa S. Mayer Family Foundation
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