Our Values

These values were discovered in 2012 after extensive research into the life and activities of our founder, Pierre S. du Pont. Most notably, conversations were held with a number of family members who knew him personally. We believe they represent how Pierre lived his life and approached his many enterprises — including his philanthropic efforts. For those who wish to get to know him better, we recommend reading      A Man and His Garden, by George E. Thompson Sr. (the source of all quotes with the exception of “root hog or die”).

Empower Individuals

Pierre S. du Pont valued the people around him. He recognized that every person had different strengths and weaknesses. He was an expert at finding the right people for the job and giving them the opportunity to succeed. He believed that everyone should get a good education that was tailored to their needs.

Be Responsible and Accountable

Pierre wrote, “Place responsibility upon a man and let him make his own way and correct his own mistakes.” He was generous and supportive of those who worked hard and did their job but had little tolerance for those who did not. He tracked his personal finances carefully and managed his resources thoughtfully.

Work Hard (“Root Hog or Die”)

Pierre’s father, Lammot, taught him “root hog or die” early in his life (his father died when he was 14). While Pierre’s childhood home was certainly not impoverished, his father made it clear that he would succeed only if he worked hard. Pierre did … ceaselessly. In his later years, Pierre wrote, “One learns only by experience and the results of one’s own acts. The coddling process is in too general use.”

Act with Integrity


Take the Long Term View

In hindsight, Pierre was decades ahead of his time. He fought for and built better schools for African Americans in the 1920’s; he was a principal in one of the earliest corporate leveraged buy-outs; and, he invested early in the facilities needed to support America’s effort to win World War I. Pierre took measured risks and acted based on his vision for the future. He believed problems could be solved if the right people “stuck to a job through thick and thin.”