The Founders

Learn about Nancy and Mark, the founders of Sundance Family Foundation.

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.

Nancy and Mark, the Founders ofSundance Family Foundation

Philanthropy seeds planted

Mark and Nancy’s interests in philanthropy began as a result of their opportunities to travel and volunteer in economically developing nations across the globe. This focus deepened when they realized through their own early life family experiences, and later raising children, and Nancy’s inner city work as a family educator, the undeniable level and quantity of need for youth development opportunities and stabilizing support to families. By the early 2000’s the seeds of their philanthropy were planted, and they began to expand their catalytic visions for something more.

Reflectively, the founders asked themselves questions such as, “What if…?” and “Could we actually…?” In 2003, with the encouragement of family and friends, the help of professionals with “how to” knowledge, and their own convictions, 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.

Staying responsive to the needs of under resourced Twin Cities youth and to their grantees taught them their mission’s pathway toward accelerating youth development and family stability.

Why the name Sundance Family Foundation?

Mark and Nancy, through Sundance Family Foundation support programs which aspire to serve others with a vision: to assist more youth and families in the universal right to “walk, run, and dance in the sunlight” of their own lives. Their logo, a vibrantly-colored sun, whose rays can also be construed as a moving footprint, capture the essence of their brand, vision, ethics and beliefs.