About Us

Ed and Darlene Lowe established the Edward Lowe Foundation in 1985 to “champion the entrepreneurial spirit” and leverage entrepreneurship as a strategy for economic growth and community development.

Today the foundation conducts research, recognition and educational programs, which are delivered through entrepreneur support organizations (ESOs).

The foundation has a secondary mission of land stewardship and is committed to preserving the natural resources and historically significant structures at Big Rock Valley, its 2,600-acre home in Southwest Michigan.

  • Property

    Nature provides an incredible backdrop for retreats where educational components are combined with reflective hikes and other activities. Our unique accommodations enhance this experience with guests staying in renovated farmhouses dating back to the 1800s, as well as five retired boxcars converted to comfortable sleeping units equipped with all of the modern conveniences of a hotel.

    Here you will learn about our land management philosophy, how we deal with overstocked wildlife and diversity of our species inventory.


  • People

    The Edward Lowe Foundation is an operating foundation, following a different model than practiced by the typical nonprofit foundation. Instead of providing grants, we provide services. Instead of providing money directly, we give our time and our expertise.

    Through dynamic leadership, innovative technology, and conservation of the natural environment, an important component of the foundation’s mission is its people. Our board of trustees and management team, together with employees driven to make a difference, take the foundation to the next level by driving innovative thinking in both the entrepreneurial and environmental communities.


  • Vision

    The foundation actively embraces and encourages entrepreneurship as the source and strategy for economic growth, community development and economically independent individuals.


    To champion the entrepreneurial spirit by providing information, research and educational experiences that support entrepreneurship and the free enterprise system, consistent with the intent of our founders, Edward and Darlene Lowe.

    In 1985 Ed and Darlene created the Edward Lowe Foundation to “champion the entrepreneurial spirit” as a cornerstone of the free enterprise system. Today the foundation pursues two goals to fulfill its mission. The first is to help second-stage business owners take their companies to the next level through peer learning. The second is to encourage wider understanding of the vital role second-stage companies play in the U.S. economy.

  • Heritage

    Leveraging the Past

    Regardless of size or structure, an organization’s past plays a critical role in its future.

    “There’s great value in knowing where you came from,” says Dan Wyant, a trustee of the Edward Lowe Foundation in Cassopolis, Mich. “Understanding your organization’s history, traditions and values helps you build upon previous successes — and avoid repeating mistakes.”

    In addition, an appreciation of heritage can:

    • Ensure the founder’s intent is ever present.
    • Build pride with current employees.
    • Enhance recruiting efforts.
    • Refine your organization’s identity and strengthen branding efforts.
    • Enrich decision-making.

    The Edward Lowe Foundation’s heritage revolves around entrepreneurship and land stewardship. Ed Lowe, who forged a new industry with catbox filler products, believed that entrepreneurship was vital to a robust U.S. economy. He and his wife, Darlene, launched the Edward Lowe Foundation in 1985 to provide resources for entrepreneurs — and raise awareness of entrepreneurs’ contributions to society.

    “Ed also had a great love and respect for the land and developed a unique place that he wanted to share with others,” Wyant says, referring to Big Rock Valley, the foundation’s 2,600-acre property in Southwest Michigan. The foundation uses Big Rock Valley to host leader retreats and other entrepreneur programs. It also conducts land-management practices to promote biodiversity and makes the property available to researchers.

    The foundation preserves its heritage through a variety of tools and resources, including websites, multimedia productions, exhibits and publications — and, perhaps most important, its archival collection.

  • Annual Reports

"As a general rule, if a word cannot be understood, it will not be used. "
— Edward Lowe