The New Beyster Foundation for Enterprise Development

By Mary Ann Beyster

In celebrating the 30-year milestone of the Foundation for Enterprise Development (FED), as president of the FED and daughter of FED founder, J.R. Beyster, today I not only reflect on the past, but am pleased to announce major changes for our future role and impact.

In October 1987, within the first year of being established, the FED hosted it first conference in Washington, D.C. titled, Employee Participation in Ownership and Management. The establishment of the FED and its inaugural event were a dream come true for my father and many associated with both. At the conference he stated:

“Most of us are here because we believe that true employee participation and ownership is fundamentally fair and right and presents a real opportunity for this country. We believe that employee participation and ownership can help national productivity and quality in a major way—especially if established in good faith, in a non-self-serving manner, in such a way that employees really get a say, and with full management support.”

He created the FED in response to a fundamental question—how could the idea of employee ownership be spread to other companies so that they, their employees, their customers, their owners, and the nation as a whole could benefit? Because of the FED and its collaborators, three decades later, millions of employees have become owners and more entrepreneurial, thousands of businesses have improved their performance, hundreds of scholars are making serious inquiries on best practices and policy, and major local and national economies have in some way adopted employee-owned enterprises into their strategic development plans.

At this important 30-year milestone, I am pleased to announce the transition of the FED to a purely granting fund, the Beyster Foundation for Enterprise Development (BFED). This decision was made after more than a year of strategic planning including discussions with our trustees, staff, university collaborators, and the Beyster family.

The new Beyster Foundation is a donor advised fund located at Schwab Charitable, and David Binns (a current FED trustee) and I will be advisors to this fund. In addition to supporting the mission via grants, we anticipate over time investing assets in alignment with the FED's mission. This transition will be complete by June 16, 2017.

The website has been updated for this transition, and now will be hosted by the Beyster Institute, the new stewards for this legacy website.

Over the past 30 years, the FED's program success has been enhanced through strategic collaborations and partnerships with businesses, foundations, the U.S. government, and academia. We are confident that our ongoing grant support through our new BFED fund to key universities and non-profits will continue helping entrepreneurs and companies adopt employee ownership, and ensure ongoing support of research evidence for policy reform.

I have included a few highlights of FED programs that we expect to continue with BFED:

  • Beyster Institute, UC San Diego Rady School of Management
    • Providing consulting, training, and certification courses that educate senior managers at established employee-owned companies, new EO companies, graduates, and undergraduates.
    • Overseeing the FED’s book publications: The SAIC Solution (1st and 2nd editions), and Names, Numbers, and Network Solutions.
  • J.R. Papers and FED Archive, UC San Diego Library
    • Providing access to 50 years of important learnings for today’s practice and future policies by looking back on approaches used by J.R. Beyster, the FED, and the highly decentralized, entrepreneurial, and innovative employee-owned company, SAIC.
  • Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations
    • Growing and sustaining the multi-disciplinary Beyster research fellowship program, Beyster symposium, and largest online curriculum library for employee ownership (CLEO).
    • Overseeing the FED’s film production, We the Owners.
  • University of Michigan, Center for Entrepreneurship, Engineering School
    • Teaching aspiring engineering and other technical students and faculty about entrepreneurial ownership.
    • Inspiring students, faculty, and visitors with innovation artifacts from J.R. Beyster and SAIC on display in three UMICH buildings.
  • Selective Initiatives
    • Supporting Emerging Scholars via the Academy of Management awards program.
    • Providing open-source, advanced educational materials that reach tens of thousands of students such as the Cleanstart simulation developed by MIT Sloan School of Management.
    • Seeding emerging initiatives with potential for high impact and scaling of employee ownership.

I want to thank my board of trustees (David Binns, Tom Darcy, and Steve Fisher) for believing in the FED’s mission and providing excellent advice and support for decades. I also want to thank the FED staff and volunteers (Bianca Helm, Moira Feighan, Jill Neal, Teresa George, Jere Buffington, and Mindy Pawinski) who have shown a passion and resolve to the quality of our programs and operations.

On behalf of the Foundation for Enterprise Development and the Beyster family, I want to thank everyone who has been a collaborator and supporter of our mission, provided ongoing encouragement to me over the past decade, and been a true friend to my father and the Beyster family.

We have achieved a lot together over the last 30 years, and I am excited to continue my involvement through the BFED to help effect positive change in entrepreneurship and employee ownership.

Contact BFED via these emails:

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