fieldstead

THE AHMANSONS

Meet Howard & Roberta

Howard F. Ahmanson, Jr.

Howard Fieldstad Ahmanson, Jr. is a philanthropist and writer whose public activities focus on deepening awareness and fostering better policy regarding issues of affordable housing, land use, and eminent domain as well as life issues, particularly the beginning and ending of human life. He blogs at Bluekennel.com.

A trustee of The Ahmanson Foundation, founded by his father in the 1950s, Ahmanson does his granting through the private philanthropy, Fieldstead and Co., founded in 1979. Ahmanson’s granting has focused on relief and development work both in the United States and around the world; religious liberty issues also in the United States and abroad; and cultural issues ranging from the arts to education and politics. A regular attender at the Congress on New Urbanism, Ahmanson is proud to sponsor the local government conference series at Chapman University in Orange, California.

His personal interests range from map-reading to new urbanism websites, classical and rock music (NOT jazz), and stand-up paddle boarding. Ahmanson travels widely, in recent years to India, Russia, Egypt, Israel, Ethiopia, China, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Eastern and Western Europe. In 2002 the Ahmansons walked 100 kilometers of the Camino de Compostela, the pilgrim route established in the 9th century across northern Spain to Santiago, to become official peregrinos, or pilgrims.

Ahmanson is a graduate of Occidental College in Eagle Rock, California, and holds a master’s degree in linguistics from the University of Texas at Arlington.

Last, but perhaps most important, Ahmanson has driven a hybrid car since 2002.

Roberta Green Ahmanson

Roberta Green Ahmanson is a writer and explorer focused on discovering the nature of reality, the role of religion, and the meaning of history and the arts.

Driven by that quest she has been a pilgrim, voraciously reading, keeping a journal, visiting art museums, and traveling, armed with two questions: What is real? And, is there a God and does it matter?

Her quest has driven her to traipse dozens of people across Europe, Africa, and Asia, each time seeking to understand the people, culture, history, and local religion. She traces the footprints that Christians have left across the globe. She sponsors major art exhibitions, serves on arts panels and committees, commissions art at colleges and a rescue mission, and has created a gallery for art shows in her office building. At home, she sponsors salons with major authors who have written on such subjects from the way radical Muslims persecute their less-violent brothers and sisters to the role of China in the world today and the importance of textiles in human history.

All this began in Perry, Iowa, where she was brought up in a Fundamentalist Baptist Church, learned the Bible and how to pray, and met missionaries from all over the world. It continued at Cornerstone University and Calvin College (B.A.), the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (M.A.), and a graduate year at the University of Missouri School of Journalism (1974-75). Those questions were the energy behind her award-winning work as a religion reporter on two Southern California newspapers. And, it led her to launch what has grown into a network of more than 500 mainstream journalists who are Christians pursuing intellectually honest reporting on all areas of public life, particularly religion.

Some of her conclusions so far can be found in her publications and speeches. Two things stand out. First, she is certain that Beauty is essential to human life. Second, she is convinced that we become what we worship.

Murder mysteries and embroidery give her some semblance of sanity, along with her Range Rover, the only car for hopeless Anglophiles.

Since 1986, Ahmanson has worked with her husband, Howard, in shaping the granting priorities of his private philanthropy, Fieldstead and Company. In that time, the Ahmansons have sponsored a number of art exhibitions in the United States and Great Britain. In the 1990s Ahmanson and her husband renovated an early twentieth century hotel and Carnegie Library in her hometown Perry, Iowa. The Ahmansons have also commissioned various works of art and music. In addition to lecturing for the International Arts Movement in New York City, Ahmanson is the co-author with Paul Marshall and Lela Gilbert of Islam at the Crossroads, 2002, and a contributor and co-editor with Marshall and Gilbert of Blind Spot: When Journalists Don't Get Religion, published by Oxford University Press, Fall 2008. Previously, Ahmanson worked as a sixth grade teacher in Toronto, Canada, and then as a religion reporter and editor for the San Bernardino Sun and the Orange County Register, both in Southern California. Ahmanson was born in 1949, grew up in Iowa, and was educated in Michigan and Missouri.

David Fieldstad Green Ahmanson

David is concerned with religion and culture in all their manifestations, notably art and literature, but film, television, and video games as well, and believes in the importance of history. He is also a passionate advocate of the laissez faire economy.

David could read by the time he was three, and no one is quite sure how he learned. By the time he was ten, he had already pursued interests in geography, wild animals (with a later focus on insects), outer space (science and the history of spaceflight), and British history for years. He also traveled extensively with his family from infancy, and visited England, Italy, Australia, Scandinavia, and Japan before he was ten. He has since visited every continent except Antarctica.

In addition to the usual children’s viewing, he was exposed to Casablanca, Rear Window, and other classics at a very early age, which prompted him to consider a career in film by the time he was ten. He is an admirer of Walt Disney, Alfred Hitchcock, and Hayao Miyazaki, and believes that George Lucas and Steven Spielberg helped save Western Civilization. His mother introduced him to writers such as C. S. Lewis, Madeleine L’Engle, J. R. R. Tolkien, and E. L. Konigsburg when he was still small, and he later discovered Laura Ingalls Wilder, L. Frank Baum, Louise Fitzhugh, George MacDonald, and others who impacted him deeply. David has also used computers since late infancy, and is a committed supporter and advocate of the adventure genre of video games (which includes titles like King’s Quest, Myst, Monkey Island, and Gabriel Knight), and contributed substantially to Kickstarter campaigns for Cyan’s Obduction, Red Thread Games’ Dreamfall Chapters, and Pinkerton Road Studios. He is also a fan of Bioware RPGs, such as Mass Effect and Dragon Age, and believes that interactive storytelling is a vital new art form.

David has also contributed to a program to revitalize the Coptic language in Egypt for several years. He has a BA in English from Hillsdale College.