Foundation History


The Mead Family’s philanthropic legacy stems from their passion and vision.

“I guess I realized that you can have wealth and not be ashamed of it, and that you ought to use it in a constructive, useful manner, not just to enhance your own lifestyle.” – Gilbert Mead


The Mead Family Foundation seeks to empower youth to have crisis-free lives, strong families, and excellent education. We achieve this by partnering with exemplary organizations that are effectively addressing needs in our communities. We seek out organizations with visionary leaders, staff and volunteers, who develop innovative projects producing significant results.


The Mead Family Foundation was formed by Gilbert and Jaylee Mead in 1989, after the passing of Gilbert’s father, Stanton W. Mead. Gilbert Mead’s professional passions led him away from the family-controlled business, Wisconsin-based, Consolidated Papers, Inc., and into science. Gil established his career as a geophysicist at the NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. There he met Jaylee, an astronomer who was one of few women of her generation to pursue a career in astrophysics.

At Goddard, Gil and Jaylee not only worked together, they performed together! As members of an employee arts group, MAD (Music And Drama), Gil and Jaylee were intimately involved in many theater and music productions – Jaylee as an actress, singer and producer, and Gil as a musical director. Their love for the arts was reflected in their personal philanthropy. Gil and Jaylee were integral supporters of the revitalization of the arts in DC, donating millions in personal gifts to local theaters.

Foundation History and Mission

Shortly after the Foundation’s inception, Gil and Jaylee invited Gil’s four children to join the board and the Foundation’s focus was expanded beyond the arts.

Today, in alignment with the founders’ wishes, the Foundation provides an opportunity for multiple generations of the Mead family to pursue their own philanthropic interests by giving to a common mission in the communities where each lives, works and volunteers. The Foundation is located in Maryland, but grants are distributed across several geographic communities including Montgomery County, Maryland, the Triangle area of North Carolina and certain parts of Florida. The Board values the learning experience of shared philanthropy and working with the next generation as they explore their passions in their community.