Threshold Past and Present

In September 1981, twenty-one people gathered in Estes Park, Colorado in response to a letter sent by Threshold founder Josh Mailman. The letter was addressed to fifty individuals around the country who had both personal wealth and a commitment to decreasing ecological destruction and human suffering. With Josh’s letter came the idea of developing a public foundation and a supportive community with a basic founding principal: “Everything is alive, everything is inter-related, and all life is sacred.” Josh – in his twenties at the time and a recent inheritor of significant wealth – imagined periodic gatherings of friends who enjoyed being together, were interested in progressive social change, dared to speak openly about their money and privilege, and felt united by a core humanistic or spiritual belief in the inter-connectedness of all life.

What began as a small group of wealthy activists engaging in an open inquiry about how best to be of service has evolved over the years into a fusion of philanthropic institute, community, and long-running mosaic of shared work and experience.

Threshold today has two integrally linked components: A network of nearly 300 individuals and a progressive grantmaking foundation. Threshold members can be found at the helm of many of the most important social change and environmental non-profits, socially responsible companies, progressive family foundations, and centers for spiritual and human potential study. For three decades, Threshold has served as a quiet catalyst for the social and environmental change movements, by seeding thousands of non-profits and by supporting the inception of many sister donor organizations and socially responsible business networks throughout the world.

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