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The Argosy Foundation's Vision

Our vision is a world where all people are empowered and inspired to make a positive impact on their communities and our world.

Photo By John Smith
Urban Ecology Center. Tree planting with volunteers at Riverside Park. Photo credit: Matt Unrau.

Our Mission

The mission of the Argosy Foundation is to support people and programs that make our society a better place to live. We seek to employ creative and entrepreneurial approaches that help people to help themselves, and become self-sustaining whenever possible. Our intention is to solve systemic problems, build teams and communities, create replicable solutions, and inspire others to contribute in their own ways.

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Guiding Values

The partners we support are diverse, but the strengths we value in them and the foundation remain consistent.


Argosy is deeply committed to informing the decision-making process. Proportionate to their impact, decisions should be the end result of rigorous research, data, and analysis, including best practices, risk contingency, and scenario modeling.


What is done well in isolation is often done better in partnership. We seek collaboration and encourage our partners to continually explore potential collaborations when they lead to greater efficiencies, scalability, and pooled-voice advocacy.

Fiscal Stewardship

Argosy Trustees view themselves as stewards of financial and intellectual resources. We expect of ourselves and our partners a disciplined and responsible use of these resources.

Human Resources

The most important variable in an organization is personnel. We are committed to aggressively seeking out, retaining, and developing an increasingly effective staff. We strongly support our partners in doing the same, particularly in leadership.


We are committed to continually assessing the effectiveness of ourselves and our nonprofit partners, and equally dedicated to learning from and adapting to the findings. We encourage and support partners to adopt efficient and creative study designs.


We believe that continually examining the world in which we live and the fields in which we work makes us better grantmakers. We are committed to remaining open-minded, sharing knowledge, and learning from our successes and failures.

Method Of Engagement

We seek to make investments that empower through infrastructure and long-term capacity-building. We approach investments with a shared notion of engagement, defined benchmarks, and an exit strategy.

Volunteer Ethics

We celebrate and encourage the charitable impulse in society. We believe in interacting with our peers, our partners, our staff, and the community with respect and grace. Where we disagree with others, we try to communicate productively.


By operating in a manner consistent with our values, we hope our methodology and integrity will earn respect. We value diversity and differences of opinion regarding our decisions and actions.


This foundation is formed around a family and is meant to strengthen it. We are committed to encouraging and empowering philanthropy among family members.
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The Argosy Foundation is a private family foundation founded in 1997 by John Abele, co-founder of Boston Scientific. The Abele family members serve as the Board of Trustees; John is the chairman and Jeneye Abele is the President & CEO. The foundation's headquarters and most staff are located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with additional offices in Boulder, Colorado and Birmingham, Alabama. Partnerships are not limited to traditional program areas, but instead emphasize a due-diligence approach to making strategic, leveraged investments followed by continuous learning for future partnerships.

John Abele
Chair | Founder
Jeneye Abele
President | Trustee
Chris Abele
Mary Abele
Ken Zolot
Administrative Trustee
Jeneye Abele
Chief Executive Officer | President
Emily Van Dunk
Executive Director
Cheryl Sykora
Operations Manager | Program Officer
Isabella Gargiulo
Program Officer
Matt Gaboury
Program Officer | Operations Associate
Shirley Hamilton
Program Officer
Nick Davis
Research Director
Gerardo Mendez
Research Assistant
Sarah Baker
Grants Manager | Program Officer
Jacob Anderson
Project Assistant
Lynn Wolfe
Project Coordinator
Annual Report 2022
Annual Report 2021
Annual Report 2020
an internship That Makes A Difference
Throughout the year, Argosy offers both Research and Communications internships in its Milwaukee office that provide students hands-on, meaningful experience in philanthropy. Our internship needs are currently filled, but we encourage you to check out this Google Form if you're interested in learning more about these positions or sharing your contact information to get notified when we are accepting internship applications.
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No Positions Currently Available
Thank you for your interest! Our hiring needs are currently filled, but we'll be sure to post any position openings here as soon as they are available.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What types of projects does the Argosy Foundation support?

The Argosy Foundation engages in process-based support.  Foundation Trustees look for projects that add value to a field and also may contain features applicable to other philanthropic programs, such as innovative learning methods, assessment strategies, simplified documentation techniques, etc.  We look for leverage in everything we do; every program is a learning experience.  Our role as a partner with the grantee is to maximize the likelihood of success, as well as gain knowledge and best practice information that can be made available to others.  As a private family foundation, we try to address needs that are less likely to be addressed by governments or public foundations, in a way that may be difficult or impossible for other support/grantor organizations to provide. While the Foundation does not operate with concrete program categories, there are certain areas to which Argosy currently directs the bulk of its funding.  They include, but are not limited to, education, arts and culture, health and human services, and the environment.

I understand that Argosy does not accept unsolicited proposals. Do you have suggestions where I might look elsewhere for funding?

Visit the Foundation Center's web site at http://www.foundationcenter.org, which provides access to private foundation information and various other resources for grant seekers.

Does the Argosy Foundation provide non-financial support?

Yes, the Argosy Foundation also supports organizations and projects as a consultant, researcher and convener.  Click here to find Argosy research related to various initiatives.

Who makes funding decisions at the Argosy Foundation?

All funding is solely at the discretion of the Trustees.

Where is the Argosy Foundation located?

The headquarters of the Argosy Foundation is located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We also have additional offices and staff members in Boulder, Colorado and Birmingham, Alabama.

Does the Foundation have geographic limits on its funding?

Not necessarily, but much of the giving reflects areas that are familiar to the Trustees.

Where can I find answers to my specific questions?

Please use the Contact form. We welcome your feedback, and our staff would be happy to answer questions.

Does the Foundation give grants to individuals?

Grants can only be awarded to 501(c) 3 public charities and schools.

Does the Argosy Foundation have deadlines for proposals?

There are no set timelines for reviewing proposals that Argosy has solicited (Argosy does not accept unsolicited proposals). Each Trustee makes his/her own decisions on an individual basis and at their discretion.

What is the significance of the Foundation's name?

The significance of the name is not the typical usage of the word (nor how it is regularly used by Shakespeare).   The root means, literally, 'boat'.   Later the word came to be associated with an early form of venture capital - invest in people, capital, and tools, send them on a boat to some presumably resource-rich destination, and hope they hit pay dirt.  The sense in which we mean it for the Foundation is most analogous to the Argonauts in Greek mythology - a heroic task (or problem) being effectively solved through an extraordinary collaboration of diversely skilled adventurers, (or staffed) by the most effective and appropriate people (notably Hercules and Jason, in this case) equipped with exactly the right resources (boat by Athena, etc.).

What is the significance of the Argosy logo?

The logo is a Fibonacci Spiral representing a numeric pattern – a “dynamic balance” – that is useful in mathematics and manifests itself throughout nature and art. The logo is a representation of our search for the best possible, most elegant and efficient solutions to challenges that affect our world. The spiral is also a reminder to us that solutions to problems can apply across disciplines and in unexpected ways.