When Herb Block died in October 2001, he left $50 million with instructions to create a foundation to encourage the art of editorial cartooning and to support charitable and educational programs that help promote and support the causes he championed during his 72 years of cartooning. The Foundation is committed to defending basic freedoms, combating all forms of discrimination and prejudice and improving the condition of the poor and underprivileged. In addition, the Foundation seeks to provide educational opportunities through scholarships, and to promote editorial cartooning through continuing research.
In keeping with its mission, the Foundation awards grants in three categories: Defending Basic Freedoms, Pathways out of Poverty, and Encouraging Citizen Involvement. In addition, the Foundation awards scholarships based on financial need to individuals seeking to attend community colleges in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.