The Spencer Foundation was established in 1962 by Lyle M. Spencer. The Foundation received its major endowment upon Spencer's death in 1968 and began formal grant making in 1971. Since that time, the Foundation has made grants totaling nearly $500 million.
The Foundation is intended, by Spencer's direction, to investigate ways in which education, broadly conceived, can be improved around the world. From the first, the Foundation has been dedicated to the belief that research is necessary to the improvement in education. The Foundation is thus committed to supporting high-quality investigation of education through its research programs and to strengthening and renewing the educational research community through its fellowship and training programs and related activities.
"All the Spencer dough was earned, improbably, from education. It makes sense, therefore, that much of this money should be returned eventually to investigating ways in which education can be improved, around the world. Broadly conceived, wherever learning occurs." - Lyle M. Spencer
The above quotation was found in Lyle M. Spencer's notes on the formation of the Foundation.