Foundation History

Our Founding

The Devonshire Foundation has a long history of charitable giving in the New England region. Created in 1949 as Devonshire Associates by Weston (Dusty) and Melita Howland, the organization served as a way for the Howland family to give back to the community anonymously. Launched with just $45,000, Devonshire Associates funded a wide range of charitable organizations.

Dusty was keenly focused on programs where the foundation’s support could have a significant multiplier effect through challenge grants, or where the grant served to promote charitable giving. There was also a focus on supporting those organizations where the founders were actively involved, including environmental organizations. A historic focus on youth also emerged through the years.

Our Evolution

In 2003, Devonshire Associates officially changed its name to The Devonshire Foundation. With the passing of Melita in 1998 and Dusty in 2009, the foundation received a large bequest. The founders did not leave specific guidelines for how to direct the continued giving of the foundation, allowing the new leadership to reassess the foundation’s focus and operations, and to develop the giving strategy used today.

The Devonshire Foundation now maintains an endowment of about $50 million. Our giving areas and methods are rooted in the interests of our founders. While members of the Howland family will continue to serve on the board, we are also committed to including members of the community on our board and in our decision making.