Our Mission and History

Media entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner founded the UN Foundation in 1998 because he believed the United Nations is indispensable to tackling humanity’s greatest challenges and driving global progress. The same belief guides us today.

We act as a strategic partner to help the UN mobilize the ideas, people, and resources it needs to deliver, and grow a diverse and durable constituency for collective action. We focus on issues at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals, build initiatives across sectors to solve problems at scale, and engage influencers and citizens who seek action. Partnership, and the power of smart and strategic collaboration, is in our DNA. We believe everyone has a part to play, everyone’s voice should be heard, and everyone has a stake.


The UN Foundation was founded in 1998 by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner to support the UN and serve as a strategic partner and resource for the UN in solving global problems. Ted’s goals in establishing the Foundation were to demonstrate the value of investing in the UN, encourage new partners to work with the UN, and promote strong U.S. leadership at the UN.

In our first 20 years, the Foundation mobilized over $2 billion, numerous initiatives, and countless partners to support the UN and UN causes. This support helped the UN pioneer work in areas we all now take for granted, from supporting elections to the rights of adolescent girls to our shared interest in a clean energy future for all.

Today, the Foundation focuses on mobilizing ideas, people, and resources to help the UN tackle some of the greatest collective action challenges of our time, including scaled collaboration to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and the promise of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Our Approach

These core capabilities help us work toward our mission.