Remembering Steve Viederman

Steve Viederman, President of the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation from 1986 to 2000, was a trailblazer and champion of mission-aligned investing. We are saddened to learn of his passing, and we send our condolences to his family and friends.

Steve led us to adopt a mission-aligned investing approach and to encourage other foundations to do the same. He provided the leadership that shifted our grantmaking strategy to focus on resourcing grassroots organizing to advance environmental justice, which has now expanded to focus on multi-issue organizing for economic, racial, Indigenous, and gender justice.

Steve led Noyes to transition from a family foundation to one led by a professional staff and a majority non-family Board. Unlike many social justice foundation leaders at the time, he also understood the importance of hiring grassroots organizers and those most directly affected by injustice to lead our program strategies to ensure a stronger connection between our grantmaking and the needs and interest of the communities we aimed to serve.

Steve taught us a lot about institutional investing for positive impact, environmental justice grantmaking, organizational change management, diplomacy and resiliency, and how to be a “recovering white male” and grandparent.