About our Founders
“Philanthropy doesn’t have to be stuffy. It’s simply a vehicle to give back. The beauty of it all is that anyone and everyone can participate—even kids!”
Nancy Jacobs and Mark Sandercott grew up in Cleveland, Ohio and Detroit, Michigan, respectively. Nancy and Mark met in the early 1980s, when they each moved to the Twin Cities in pursuit of new goals and opportunities. Their shared Midwestern values, delight in the great outdoors and a genuine enjoyment of people, fueled their desire to spend time together pursuing their passions. Through community volunteering, they discovered a joy that ignited their friendship into a relationship of mutual love and commitment that extended beyond them. The couple complemented one another’s dreams and visions, which sparked creative ways to give back to their local community and to humanity.
Global philanthropy seeds planted
Mark and Nancy’s interests in global philanthropy began as a result of their opportunities to travel and volunteer in the developing world. This focus deepened when they realized through their own family experiences, the undeniable level and quantity of need for stable family life. By the early 2000s the seeds of their philanthropy were planted, and they began to expand their visions and hopes for something more.
Slowly, they asked themselves questions such as, “What if…?” and “Could we actually…?” In 2003, with the encouragement of family and friends, the help of professionals who had foundation “how to” knowledge, and their own convicted attitudes, they birthed Sundance Family Foundation. After preliminary creative work and exploration, Nancy and Mark began to assemble a small, diverse and talented board of directors from an array of capable people from the community—an unusual course of action for a private family foundation. For two years, the Sundance board met energetically for monthly board meetings, committee meetings, attended workshops, gained support from experts and read copiously to achieve the insight and education necessary to define and refine the essence of Sundance Family Foundation.
Today, Mark and Nancy feel fortunate to be aligned with dozens of successful life and family-enhancing programs. Each organization funded by Sundance functions to create hope for the future of families. Through critical first-step opportunities, families worldwide advance themselves up and out of cycles of generational poverty and despair. It is the belief of Sundance Family Foundation that as families receive the nurturing and stability they deserve, they are able to act intuitively towards fuller, more abundant living. This includes the desire to give back to their communities and the global world, as well.
Why the name Sundance Family Foundation?
The answer is simple.
Who among us cannot remember heartfelt joy and pure childlike delight experienced from the warmth of summer’s sunlight after a dark and barren winter?
Mark and Nancy, through the programs that Sundance Family Foundation supports, simply aspire to serve others with a vision: to assist more families in the humane opportunity to “dance in the sunlight” of their own lives.
The future challenges and possibilities for Sundance Family Foundation and those it serves are bountiful and bright. Nancy and Mark are forever grateful for the grace to be walking this optimistic journey alongside others.
Copyright 2006 Sundance Family Foundation. All rights reserved.