The Civility Fund
The Civility Fund is a non-profit family foundation dedicated to fostering civility in our world.
In an era too often marked by acts of incivility, the Civility Fund provides resources, initiatives, and programs designed to stem the rising tide of incivility and to foster civility in our society. Research shows that increased civility will positively impact
our quality of life by reducing stress and enhancing health;
our productivity by improving our motivation, cognitive functioning, and creativity;
our community by strengthening personal and professional relationships;
our environment by committing to a healthy planet;
our world by nurturing compassion and peace.
Our initiatives and programs strive to elevate individuals’ levels of consciousness, creativity, and community – elements essential to the pursuit of civility.
Consciousness increases our emotional intelligence, thereby helping us to understand the ways our own emotions may cause us to behave uncivilly, enabling us to better self-regulate our emotions, and equipping us to realize how our actions impact others.
Creativity provides an outlet for self-discovery and reflection, an opportunity to see different perspectives, and flexibility in finding solutions to problems and resolutions to conflicts.
Community enables us to avoid isolation and connect with our fellow human beings, encourages us to recognize that the benefits we enjoy should be balanced by service to others, and enhances our ability to make a difference by joining forces with our neighbors.
Civility is more than politeness, compassion, and integrity, though it certainly includes these qualities. Civility is a set of attitudes, behaviors, and skills that call upon us to respect others, to remain open-minded, and to engage in honest and constructive discourse. Civility benefits businesses by creating satisfied clients and reducing costs. It benefits individuals by reducing stress and promoting healthy relationships. And civility promotes a just and healthy society by de-escalating conflict and inspiring service as volunteers. We behave civilly by actively listening to others, by understanding our own biases and assumptions, and by treating others as we would like to be treated. In order to understand our inherent biases, we need to engage in difficult but necessary conversations about race, gender, otherness, and values. Civility calls upon us to advocate effectively without losing our humanity and to challenge ourselves to make a contribution to our world.
In addition to providing resources and offering initiatives to increase civility in our society, the Civility Fund is the umbrella foundation for the Civility Center for Law and the Alfie Scholars Program. Both programs work in partnership with Seattle University.
Formerly known as Robert’s Fund, the Civility Center for Law at Seattle University School of Law aims to elevate the way we treat one another in the legal profession and to inspire acts of courtesy, kindness, and compassion among members of the profession.
Legal professionals profoundly influence society. Those who serve as judges and politicians create and administer our laws and shape societal values. Other legal professionals play vital roles in private industry. Even when they are not in leadership positions, lawyers are often the ones who negotiate and set policy for businesses and other organizations. Lawyers also work with individual clients to foster commerce and prevent conflict in transactional practices, resolve conflict in litigation, or counsel those in legal distress. Lawyers often serve as leaders and role models in their communities, either in their capacity as lawyers or simply as concerned citizens. Increased civility demonstrably improves outcomes for legal professionals and the people that they serve. And because legal professionals profoundly influence society, even outside their formal work, their behavior often sets the tenor of corporate, political, and social interactions. When they behave uncivilly, they undermine our justice system in a variety of ways, most notably by exacerbating conflict, thereby increasing costs and diminishing public confidence in our justice system. However, when they behave with civility, they demonstrably improve outcomes for the people that they serve and for themselves, and they serve as exemplars of appropriate behavior in our society.
The Alfie Scholars Program provides access for underrepresented transfer students to obtain a bachelor’s degree, increases diversity on campus and in the professions, and promotes leadership that fosters civility.
We believe that a robust and sustainable society relies upon an educated and engaged population that practices civility. We seek to increase diversity and promote civility on campus and in the professions. We hope to lessen the financial and cultural barriers that transfer students from underrepresented segments of our population face in their pursuit of obtaining a bachelor’s degree. We create a bridge for them to enter and foster civility in higher academia and the professions. To accomplish this, we collaborate with Seattle University, an institution of superior academic standing, whose dedication to forming leaders for social justice is in harmony with our purpose.
Each scholar receives:
$15,000 annual scholarship
Individual advising and instruction
Academic enrichment programs
Leadership and civility training
Robert’s Fund, a non-profit family foundation was created in 2008 in memory of Robert A. Lustbader, who through his words, acts, service, and kindness personified care and respect for others: basic tenets of civility. Sensitivity to others, ethical behavior, social etiquette, and philanthropy are essential components of civility.
The roots of Robert’s Fund are found in the story of two brothers, Alfred and Robert, raised in Brooklyn, New York, during the Great Depression to abide by the Golden Rule and treat others as they would like to be treated. In 2008, Alfred created Robert’s Fund to honor the legacy of his beloved brother, who walked the world in service to others, exhibiting care and concern for family, friends, and neighbors, and contributing positively to the communities in which he lived.
Since 2010, Robert’s Fund has partnered with Seattle University School of Law to offer continuing legal education seminars in Seattle and in Italy and to offer custom programs for organizations of legal professionals and law schools. In 2017 we became the Robert’s Fund Civility Center for Law at Seattle University School of Law, which is completely funded by the Robert’s Fund Foundation. In 2018, Robert’s Fund became the Civility Fund, to enable us to expand our initiatives to foster civility beyond the legal profession.
Alfie’s Fund, a non-profit family foundation, was created in 2014 to provide support to help change a life. The Fund’s first initiative was the Alfie Scholars Program at Seattle University. This program now operates under the Civility Fund, our umbrella foundation.
Alfie’s Fund now is a philanthropic giving foundation.