The Dunn Foundation is concerned with the quality of the visual environment with a major emphasis on educational programs to increase public awareness of and appreciation for community appearance and community identity.
The Dunn Foundation believes that most Americans have become so accustomed to visual pollution – obtrusive signage, visual clutter, excessive pavement and street widening, overhead utilities and poles, incongruous architecture, billboards, strip commercial zones and urban blight – they no longer are sensitive to it, and yet many wonder why pride of place is so rare. The Foundation argues that the unique and individual physical character of America’s cities, towns and countryside, which is a product of history, culture, and geography, is being eroded by this pollution.
The Dunn Foundation believes that an understanding and appreciation of the physical appearance of our communities, both positive and negative, will strengthen the connections people have to places, reinforce community pride, generate positive growth, and foster civic values vital to healthy and sustainable communities.
The Foundation challenges people of all ages to discover links between the natural and man-made world, and the appearance of the communities in which they live. Through this exploration, people are encouraged to become active stewards for the protection and enhancement of their community’s visual assets.
Although The Dunn Foundation supports protection of the natural world and its health, their specialty is in developing awareness of how humans, as inhabitants and stewards of our respective communities, have affected community character and scenic areas in a damaging way through visual pollution. The Foundation cites widespread illiteracy on the visual environment as the major factor in the decline in the appearance of America’s communities and is committed to reversing this trend through educational initiatives, community-based research, and philanthropy.