Serena Merck, established The John Merck Fund in 1970 to improve the care of those who—like John Merck, the second of her three children—lived with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Grantmaking with that goal in mind animated JMF throughout its history. And funding received after Serena Merck’s death in 1985 enabled us to support projects in over a half-dozen other issue areas ranging from human rights to clean energy.

Though difficult challenges remain in all of our former funding areas, when we closed our doors in 2022 we were able to look back on a legacy of encouraging progress. The advances included greater expertise and experimentation in the field of developmental disabilities, critical strides in New England’s energy conversion, foundational efforts to revitalize the region’s food system, and the development of a national movement to reduce toxic-chemical exposures.


Sustainable Investing as Part of a 10-Year Spend Down at The John Merck Fund

Posted on August 7, 2023 by The John Merck Fund

When The John Merck Fund embarked on a 10-year spendout of its assets in 2012, the board aimed to maximize its grantmaking clout across four core program areas. The board also set another challenge: to finance the effort as much as possible with sustainable investments consistent with the Fund's philanthropic mission—and, what’s more, to do this without sacrificing market-rate returns… Read More