The Founders

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

Nancy Jacobs grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. Nancy’s interests in local and global philanthropy began as a child, as a result of her family’s global travel opportunities. The heart opening realities of insecure families later became apparent
as she and her own family became involved in volunteering both in the Twin Cities and around
the developing world. Nancy’s advanced degree in Family and Parent Education, alongside her
work, which deepened her exposure to families in need, continued to plant the seeds that
philanthropy could play in their lives and in the community. By 2003, Sundance Family
Foundation was born with a mission to “Accelerate Youth Development and Strengthen Family
Stability.”

Nancy and Mark, the Founders ofSundance Family Foundation

Philanthropy seeds planted

Nancy’s interests in philanthropy began as a result of her 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 she began to expand their catalytic visions for something more.

Reflectively, Nancy asked herself 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 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?

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. The 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.