History & Values of the Johnson Scholarship Foundation

Portrait of Theodore R. Johnson

Theodore R. Johnson

Theodore R. Johnson and his wife, Vivian Chesley Macleod Johnson, placed great faith in education as a means to help people improve their lives. This was based in part, on personal experience. Mr. Johnson worked his way through college and, after joining United Parcel Service in the early 1920s, obtained an MBA at night school. He rose to the position of Vice President of Labor Relations at UPS. He believed strongly in the company and bought shares of its stock at every opportunity.

Achieving great success, Mr. Johnson felt that he had been lucky in life, and he wanted to use his wealth to help people who were less fortunate. Through the establishment of the Johnson Scholarship Foundation in 1991, Mr. and Mrs. Johnson sought to help future generations of deserving people obtain education.

Mr. Johnson died in 1993 and his son, Theodore R. Johnson, Jr., succeeded him as president of the Foundation. Under his leadership, the Foundation made important advances in the areas of investment management, grant programs and governance. Aided by a public offering of UPS shares, the Foundation’s resources tripled between 1993 and 1999.

The increase in Foundation assets provided the opportunity for many new grant programs, which were created during the tenure of Mr. Johnson. Among the most notable of these are the Tribal College Entrepreneurship Scholarship Program and the MBA in American Indian Entrepreneurship, programs that exemplify the Foundation’s desire to assist deserving people and a belief in education as a means to help people to succeed in life.

As Ted Johnson, Jr. retired in 2001, Malcolm Macleod, the nephew of Vivian Macleod Johnson, became the Foundation’s third President, and now serves as Chairman of the Board. Robert Krause, a member of JSF’s Board of Directors, was named the Foundation’s CEO in 2020.

Core Values of the Johnson Scholarship Foundation


Our Foundation was created from the fruits of the free enterprise system operating in a free and democratic society. We believe that the free market system is the best in the world, but we recognize that some people fail to benefit fully from the system through no fault of their own. It is these people that the Foundation seeks to assist. Specifically, our mandate is to serve people with disabilities, Indigenous Peoples and those people who are disadvantaged because of their social or economic circumstance.


We choose education because we believe that it is the best means to empower people to become more independent and to participate more fully in the benefits of our society.


Our responsibility is to execute the Foundation’s education programs effectively and to develop new ones. Understanding that our resources are limited, we concentrate our efforts for the greatest effect. We also constantly re-evaluate and improve our programming and change or replace non-core programs when we find alternatives that offer a better combination of value and effectiveness.


To maximize the impact of our new programs, we feel an obligation to do more than provide scholarship aid to needy individuals. We also seek to identify niche areas which may have been overlooked or under funded by other educational foundations. We seek ways to amplify the impact of our programs through cooperation with other organizations.


We realize that our programs are, at best, a catalyst. The people we seek to assist and the organizations that serve them do the real work of change and are usually the best source of ideas for new program initiatives. We look to them to help us understand how to make our work more effective, and, whenever we can usefully do so, we engage them as partners.

Risk Taking

Just as the free market system fosters progress through innovation, the Foundation hopes to employ innovative programs to achieve its goals. Cognizant of the fact that innovation always carries with it the risk of failure, we will proceed only after careful evaluation and will monitor our programs closely as they progress.


The Foundation is intended to be a perpetual body, and it is our responsibility to improve it with each succeeding generation. We attempt to do this by creative programming, vigilant oversight of existing programs, and careful nurturing of our organization and its financial assets. The Foundation seeks to grow its assets over the long term by achieving at least an annual rate of return of 5% plus the annual inflation rate.