Our History

The Cricket Island Foundation (CIF) was founded in 2000 following the sale of Therma-Tru Corporation, a family business that had been established in 1962 by David Welles Sr. He and his wife, Georgia, created the Foundation to engage multiple generations of the family in philanthropic pursuits. They named the Foundation after the Canadian island where they spend their summers and served as a central gathering place for the extended Welles family.

CIF’s mission, to develop the capacity and commitment of young people to improve their lives and communities, is grounded in the family’s dedication to advancing the field of youth-led social change. Over time, CIF’s grantmaking approach has evolved and in 2007, the Foundation adopted an organizational capacity-building approach, with an emphasis on awarding multi-year general operating support grants. In 2009, CIF shifted towards a cohort-based funding model, focused on key geographic areas, and established the first cohort of grantee partners in Chicago, IL. In 2012, CIF formed a New York City-based cohort and shortly thereafter, a third cohort in New Orleans, LA.

With nearly two decades of grantmaking, CIF continues as a collective family enterprise that cultivates the family’s commitment to social responsibility.