Sabre Foundation: An Overview

Sabre Foundation was established without an endowment in 1969 by a small group of recent American university graduates interested in the philosophy and practice of free institutions. During its first fifteen years, the Foundation engaged in a variety of public policy projects aimed at expanding property ownership, moving to a volunteer army, promoting free trade and enterprise zones, empowering citizens at the neighborhood level, and encouraging young people to participate in public affairs. In 1985 its public policy projects, which occupied a Washington office, were spun off to other groups.

Meanwhile, one of Sabre's philosophical projects, involving work in Poland in the late 1970s, had generated requests for new English-language reference books and texts from researchers, teachers, students, physicians and other professionals in that country who had no access to hard currency. Thus was born the Scientific Assistance Project, deriving its name from the common Eastern European use of ≥science≤ to refer to any disciplined branch of knowledge. Launched experimentally in Poland and Hungary in 1985-87 and systematically, region-wide in the former Eastern bloc in 1988, the Project had by the end of 1997 received three million books from some 200 donating publishers, with an appraised value of $85 million, for distribution in 52 countries.

The Project has served 23 countries on a regular basis; in concert with other distributing partners Sabre has also been able to make periodic ship- ments to 29 additional countries in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, Africa, Asia and Latin America. (Refer to map on p. 19 to see Sabre's reach around the world.)

Sabre's book donation partners overseas made the Foundation aware of broader needs, and this led in turn to several new initiatives: supplying scientific journals at reduced cost, making purchases of books not normally donated, sponsoring in-country translation and publication programs in special fields, and holding seminars and conferences on a range of topics.

Classroom in Kindergarten #16, Ulaanbaatar, one of 149 Mongolian educational institutions receiving Sabre book donations

To enable its partners to order books directly from inventory, Sabre was one of the first U.S. internationally active non-profits to make extensive use of e-mail abroad. This pioneering work led to its rapidly evolving Library and Information Technology Services. Sabre ended 1997 with several programs focussing on new information technologies, and had also added CD-ROMs to its donation program.

In addition, the Foundation has continued to foster work in philosophy, through both its Fellows Program and directly-sponsored philosophical inquiry.

Sabre's programs overlap and reinforce one another in many ways. For administration, all programs involving in-kind support and technical services are grouped under the Scientific Assistance Project. Scholarly and fellowship programs are grouped under the Philosophy of Institutions Project.

Highlights of 1996/97

First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton with Sabre representatives at White House reception: (from left) Kenneth Bartels, Anne Neal, Tania Vitvitsky and Lee Auspitz>
  • First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton recognized Sabre's workčespecially for children in Romania and Bosnia & Herzegovina at a special White House meeting and reception in October 1996, addressed also by then UN Ambassador Madeleine Albright, who as a private citizen had been an early contributor to Sabre's book donation project.

  • Sabre's unique book distribution network, developed over the past decade, became increasingly mirrored in a communications network. E-mail is now the standard means of publicizing book inventories and receiving orders, and book donation programs have been closely integrated with Internet training and library technical support.

Dr. Dessima Williams (left), director of The Grenada Education and Development Programme (GRENED),with Sabre project supporter Mary Oestereicher

Law school at University of Zululand,"Historically Black Universities" in South Africa to be served by Sabre's new program

Sabre Foundation
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