QIF’s Heritage and Goals

The Religious Society of Friends has long carried an active concern for the application of scholarly and scientific knowledge to the great work of human betterment.

Kenneth Boulding, Quaker economist and pioneer scholar in the field of systems analysis was one of the first social scientists to fully recognize Earth’s ecological context as the primary reference for all policy and action on the human future and human betterment.

In the last decade of his life Kenneth Boulding convened a project he called, “Quaker Studies on Human Betterment” in which he and fellow scholars made presentations and held discussions on various themes of social, economic, and ecological concern. The idea for Quaker Institute for the Future grew directly from this project.

QIF developed from a June 2003 gathering of Quaker economists, ecologists and public policy professionals at Pendle Hill, Wallingford PA. In preparing for this gathering, Tom Head (George Fox University), offered the following guidance:

Our task…is not to find . . . just the right economic model, nor is it to force a large problem into a small model, but, instead, ….to open ourselves to some of the very largest questions facing humankind and to help each other towards ways of understanding . . . . how to faithfully and humbly respond to the enormity of what is before us.

A “Prospectus for a Quaker Think Tank” was circulated at the 2003 gathering. A working group was convened out the gathering and met again at Bar Harbor, ME in August where a “Charter” document was approved.

QIF thus established its approach to research and the development of knowledge within the context of Friends’ “experiments with truth,” Quaker testimonies, and collaborative discernment.

In our modern age, research functions as a basic foundation of the social order. We believe Friends are called to generate knowledge, wisdom and systematic insight that informs public policy for the common good. We believe this kind of work will enable us to live more fully in “the virtue of the life and power” that treats all humans and the whole Earth as a manifestation of the Divine.

Within this heritage, QIF seeks to realize the evolutionary potential of Quaker testimonies.

This approach to research aims to support the Quaker community in its application of Friends testimonies to the critical issues of human betterment and an Earth restored. In particular, the Institute seeks to support the frontline work of American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Canadian Friends Service Committee, Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL), Quaker International Affairs Programme (Canada), as well as other Quaker organizations.

Quaker Institute for the Future is incorporated in the state of California as a non-profit, 501[c]3, scientific and educational organization. QIF’s by-laws were approved at the first meeting of the Board of Trustees in August 2004.

QIF gratefully acknowledges a start up grant from the Shoemaker Fund that, along with other generous private donations, has enabled the Institute to proceed toward the realization of key goals. Contributions to QIF may be submitted electronically using the DONATE button at the top of any page, or mailed to:  

Elaine Emmi, Treasurer
1968 E. Herbert Ave.
Salt Lake City, UT 84108