William H. Brady, Jr. incorporated the W.H. Brady Foundation in 1954, the same year he became a founding member of the National Review. He believed that, "It is not government, it is not dictators or presidents or generals or popes who rule the world. It's ideas." From 1954 to 1988, the Foundation was based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and contributed to many civic, educational, and public policy organizations.
After her father's death in 1988, Elizabeth Brady Lurie assumed leadership of the W.H. Brady Foundation. In 1996, the Foundation's headquarters were moved to Asheville, North Carolina with a major emphasis on supporting public policy non-profit organizations.
In 2001, Dr. Elizabeth (Pungello) Bruno, Elizabeth Lurie's daughter and William H. Brady's granddaughter, became president of the W. H. Brady Foundation. A few years later the Foundation engaged in a large gifting program followed by a major reorganization. Renamed the Brady Education Foundation, it moved its offices to Chapel Hill, North Carolina. For the next five years, the board maintained a gifting moratorium as it developed a new mission and operating guidelines.
The Brady Education Foundation resumed a regular granting cycle in 2009. In keeping with Dr. Bruno's own academic training and keen interest in education, the Foundation's board currently focuses its attention on ways to close the achievement/opportunity gap for children at risk for poor school outcomes due to environmental factors associated with living in poverty. The Foundation currently funds two types of projects: Program Development and Existing Program Evaluation.
Currently, the Foundation is particularly focused on the development and evaluation of programs that are consistent with a strength-based approach and show promise of being feasible, effective and sustainable. Today's Brady Education Foundation strives to be the place where "research and practice meet" because, as Mr. Brady used to say, "ideas have consequences."