The Thomas H. and Mary Williams Shoemaker Fund, established by the 1936 and 1953 wills of Thomas Howard Shoemaker and Mary Williams Shoemaker, is a private, trustee-managed foundation with five volunteer, self-perpetuating distributing trustees. Since the death of Mary Shoemaker, approximately $9 million has been distributed to selected charities, including Friends meetings and Quaker-related organizations primarily in the Philadelphia area.
In recent years, the Shoemaker Trustees have become increasingly concerned about the future vitality and membership of the Religious Society of Friends. As a result, the Fund has shifted its focus to organizations that are investing specifically in the growth and development of the Society of Friends. In this spirit, the Fund is providing major support for new and collaborative initiatives developed by organizations that provide leadership, innovation and resources which address this strategic goal. Examples are the Quaker Quest initiative and the New Meetings Project of Friends General Conference. Recently the Shoemaker Fund awarded a grant to the Quaker Voluntary Service to initiate a strong connection with meetings. Even more recently, the Fund provided support for Friends Journal’s QuakerSpeak video series on YouTube.