In 2000, Mort and Angela Topfer created a private foundation with the goal of positively impacting the lives of their neighbors while establishing a legacy of giving in their own family. The Topfers, along with their children, formed the foundation with a single shared philosophy: that by inspiring self-sufficiency- particularly in individuals with limited economic or social resources - they could leave an imprint on their communities that would benefit current and future generations.
This became the cornerstone of the foundation's mission: to help people connect to the tools and resources they need to build self-sufficient and fulfilling lives. After three years of operation, the Topfer Foundation board of directors went through a strategic planning process and identified five key program areas to direct their giving: child abuse prevention and treatment, youth enrichment, job training and support services, children's health, and aging in place.
The Topfers relocated to the Austin, Texas, area from Chicago, Illinois, in 1994 when Mort became vice chairman of Dell Inc. Mort's children serve on the Topfer Family Foundation board and actively participate in the grantmaking process. The foundation limits its giving to organizations serving the two communities in which Topfer family members reside - the greater Austin and Chicago metropolitan areas. In 2003, Angela Topfer passed away after a three-year battle with cancer. With her death, the foundation lost one of its founders and Central Texas lost a philanthropist, advocate and friend.