Our History

The Fred Harris Daniels Foundation was incorporated in 1949 by the three sons of the namesake: Fred Harold Daniels, Dwight Clark Daniels, and Clarence White Daniels. The three brothers were well educated and spent their careers working in the major industrial companies located in Worcester.

Each of the brothers had considerable personal and philanthropic interests in the institutions of Worcester. It was only natural that they would form a charitable foundation, not only for the tax advantages (of which the tales are legendary) but more fundamentally so that the city would benefit from their wisdom and generosity.

The Foundation was led by Fred Harold Daniels from its inception until his death in 1967. The Foundation was then led by Harold’s only son, Bruce Goddard Daniels, and is today led by Bruce’s only son, Fred Harold Daniels II. Board members of the Daniels Foundation have always been mostly family members; the foundation does not employ outside staff for its operations. The Board of Directors of the Foundation is comprised of equal representation from the three family lines, and the current Board is actively engaging the fourth generation of family members in a process to prepare them for succession.

The Daniels Foundation engages in broad philanthropy which targets the Worcester, MA service area exclusively. The Foundation has enjoyed deep and significant partnerships with Worcester’s primary cultural and educational institutions, especially in the early decades of its operations. In this new century the Foundation has substantially increased its focus on societal challenges facing Worcester and taken a strategic interest in issues affecting girls age 10-14.

The Foundation encourages innovation and creative solutions and, therefore, is relatively tolerant of risk; great ideas and new approaches are encouraged. Increasingly the Board of Directors seeks to encourage collaborations among Worcester agencies and looks for ways to leverage its funding for greater impact; as a result, the Daniels Foundation will consider collaborative grants for capacity development. Not all grant applications are funded; those that credibly address our mission and geographic constraint most directly will benefit. The Daniels Foundation annually distributes approximately $1 million dollars into the Worcester, MA service area.

Fred Harris Daniels, was a life-long resident of Worcester, the chief engineer and a director of the American Steel & Wire Company, and for years one of the most prominent figures in the country’s wire industry. Fred Harris Daniels was born at Hanover, N. H., June 16, 1853, the son of William Pomeroy and Hepsy Ann (Stark) Daniels. On both sides of his family he was descended from a long line of New England ancestors. When he was a year old his parents moved to Worcester, which was ever afterward his place of residence. He entered the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in his 16th year and graduated as a mechanical engineer in 1873. On leaving school he entered the employ of the Washburn & Moen Mfg. Company as a draftsman, being the first man employed in that capacity by the company. He was in the office of Charles H. Morgan, the general superintendent, with whom he was intimately associated until Mr. Morgan’s retirement from the business.

When the Washburn & Moen Company was absorbed by the American Steel & Wire Company, Mr. Daniels became chief engineer of the 30 plants, and on the resignation of P. W. Moen as manager of the Eastern district he was made a director. As chief engineer Mr. Daniels were given practically carte blanche to upgrade and maintain the operation of the plants. After the American Steel & Wire Company became the property of the United States Steel Corporation, Mr. Daniels was appointed chairman of its board of engineers which has charge of the 143 plants, this responsibility being in addition to his duties as chief engineer and director of the subsidiary company. Upon his passing in 1913, Fred Harris Daniels left his legacy to his three sons, all of whom followed the engineering profession and went on to found The Fred Harris Daniels Foundation.



“When you play, play hard…. Above all, make all the friends possible and hold them.”

Fred H. Daniels
May 25, 1912

Clarence Daniels

Like his father, Clarence Daniels was an engineer by schooling. He devoted his career to the Norton Company, the worldwide leader in abrasives, founded by like-minded Worcester men, including Fred H. Daniels. Clarence Daniels was an avid horseman, keeping a farm on the boarder of Worcester and Holden.

Harold Daniels

Harold Daniels earned degrees from MIT and Yale. A successful businessman in Worcester, who enjoyed fishing and summering in Woods Hole. He enjoyed the most exacting engineering challenge, building a summer home that was hurricane proof and installing bomb shelters in his home during the cold war.

Dwight Daniels

Dwight Daniels also a successful business man in Worcester, enjoyed world wide travel as well as hunting and fishing. Like his brother Clarence, Dwight maintained horses on his Worcester property and spend long months in Wyoming riding and fishing every year.