Founded in 1993 by the truly remarkable coming together of the community of Petaluma, California in response to the kidnapping of twelve year old Polly Klaas, in 2013 the Polly Klaas Foundation will celebrate twenty years of keeping America safe for all children by: 

  • Educating and empowering children, parents, and communities so that children do not become victims and by supporting programs which build self-reliance and emergency skills without fear 
  • Responding to child abductions and missing children by using expertise and techniques to assist families, other agencies, and law enforcement in the rapid response and rapid recovery of abducted children 
  • Working with elected officials and government agencies to inform and educate the public in order to effect changes which will ensure that children can be safe in their own homes and communities

For almost a decade the Foundation grew and expanded its programs and services, partnering effectively with others to meet its mission and by creating and refining highly regarded approaches to its work. The focus of its 2004-09 Strategic Plan was on continuing to differentiate its brand, raising its profile, developing online and fundraising capacity, expanding its programmatic work and enhancing organizational capacity.   The economic recession that impacted many nonprofits at the end of the first decade of the 21st century, caused the Foundation to seek creative new ways of operating more efficiently and enabled it to survive when others did not.  A focus on belt-tightening and building infrastructure now provides the Foundation with a solid platform for strategic growth and even greater enhancement of its excellent reputation and brand.

Developing a new Strategic Plan using a very comprehensive process, the Foundation committed itself to an expansive vision and an organizational structure to fully support attaining it.

MISSION (revised May 2011)

The Polly Klaas Foundation is a national nonprofit dedicated to the safety of all children, the recovery of missing children, and public policies that keep children safe in their communities.


  • These Value Statements were originally created between 2003 and 2004 and resoundingly reaffirmed at the 2011 Strategic Planning Retreat.
  • We cherish children and we commit to protecting them in every way we can.
  • We recognize and value the uniqueness of each family and its own circumstances and we commit to providing exceptional service with respect, compassion and discretion.
  • We value the roles and responsibilities of each member of the whole community in keeping children safe and we commit to fostering their strengths.
  • We value relationships and networks as critical tools in keeping children safe and we commit to our role as both a leader and a resource.
  • We believe every family has the right to receive help when they need it and we commit to making our services, materials and resources free to all until they are no longer needed.
  • We value innovation and creativity and commit to increasing the scope, quality and depth of our service.
  • We value the POWER OF HOPE and commit to providing a lifeline to families until they no longer need us.


By 2014-15 the Polly Klaas Foundation will have successfully built on its solid organizational foundation, retained its high quality and recognizable brand, significantly diversified its funding base, expanded its programming in strategic and focused ways, and made significant investments in its human capital.

Fundraising is the key focus to ensure attainment of this Plan. Fundraising will be more diversified and will ensure organizational sustainability through relationships with ongoing and consistent sources of support. Fundraising will foster community as it keeps donors engaged. Professional Fund Development staff will be in place to support board, staff and volunteer efforts.

Programming will have expanded while maintaining its highly regarded professionalism. Specific expansion will have occurred in the Education and Response areas by leveraging core competencies while expanding to different audiences using different angles. The Foundation does not anticipate starting significantly different programs during the period of this Plan. The opportunity of technology will be consistently utilized for expansion.

The Foundation will have clarified its strategy for legislative advocacy positioning it as the “go-to” resource for legislators and media in the areas of its expertise.  Partnerships will be developed and integrated as a key part of programming. While the Foundation will continue making its resources available beyond the borders of the USA, the focus of programming will continue to be national.

The Foundation’s human capital will be developed and enhanced, tethering it to its roots of whole community response and initiative.  Board development will continue as a core strategy ensuring committed and engaged governance, stewardship and leadership. It will be Board-led and staff-supported and encompass all aspects of best governance practices including recruitment, orientation, ongoing training, nomination of leadership, and evaluation. Board succession planning will be institutionalized. Board Committees will be consistently tied to strategic work and will be functioning with high effectiveness. Honorary and Advisory Boards will be active and consistently making valuable contributions to the Foundation’s work.  Staff will be strategically enlarged to more realistically support organizational goals.  Succession planning will be a regular part of staff planning.  Volunteer recruitment and engagement will have been enhanced resulting in more volunteers who are better connected and are actively participating in multiple opportunities for engagement offered by the Foundation.  Technology will continue as a key strategy in supporting volunteers.

The Foundation will have devised a purpose-driven and efficient way to raise its profile in Petaluma both to honor the community that gave it birth and to ensure Petaluma retains its civic pride in the work of the Foundation. The Foundation’s twentieth anniversary will be used to re-engage and revitalize two decades of deeply personal investment made by many in the Foundation’s work. Polly Hannah Klaas’s memory will continue as a beacon of hope and community commitment.

GOALS 2011-2014 (2015)

I.     Diversify funding to ensure organizational sustainability

II.     Expand programming strategically and in line with resources

III.     Develop a strategy for legislative advocacy

IV.     Invest in the development of human capital (board, staff and volunteers)

V.     Continue to further develop technology

VI.     Raise the foundation’s profile in Petaluma


Each year the board and staff will create detailed annual working plans for all board committees and each staff unit/member that will outline specific tasks and timelines for work to be done to advance each of the strategic plan goals.  Over the three (four?) year span of the Plan, goal work will be sequenced in line with available resources.

For the first year of implementation, the Meeting Record and the comprehensive packet of materials from the March 2011 retreat will be used to capture ideas and issues for developing the FY 2011-12 Action Plan.


The Executive Committee will be responsible for regularly monitoring progress on the Plan and reporting such progress to the Board of Directors.