A fictional organization created by Robert A. Heinlein.
Ira Howard, a wealthy philanthropist, died of old age at the age of 48 in the year 1873. His will established the Howard Foundation, which had as its mission to prolong human life. It did this through a complex breeding program, offering monetary incentives to individuals with all living grandparents to mate with other individuals from long-lived stock.
In 1912, Lazarus Long traveled to America from a distant planet in the far future. He passed his incredible knowledge of 20th century history on to his lover (and mother) Maureen Johnson, who in turn passed it on to the Howard Foundation.
Armed with this information, the Foundation was able to prepare for the events of Black Tuesday in 1929, and to tremendously increase its relative wealth. It also used the information to invest heavily in Harriman Industries’ moon flight.
The trustees of the Howard Foundation, correctly forseeing the distrust and jealousy of non-Howards towards those of greater longevity, instituted the Masquerade, having Howards periodically assume new identities and ages. The wisdom of this scheme was validated in 2136 when a small number of Howards revealed themselves to the public at large, prompting widespread persecution of suspected Howards. The Howard Families were forced to flee Earth under the leadership of Lazarus Long, in the commandeered spaceship New Frontiers.
When the Howards returned several years later, political necessity had prompted the development of primitive rejuvenation techniques, which were able to extend the life spans of both Howards and non-Howards by a percentage. However, the Foundation ultimately transferred from Terra to the planet Secundus, again under the leadership of Lazarus Long.
During the 43rd century, Ira Weatheral, Chairman Pro Tem of Secundus, resigned his post to accompany Lazarus Long on an emigration to the planet Tertius. He was replaced by Arabelle Foote-Hedrick, who was in turn succeeded by Susan Barstow. The Howard Foundation continues to thrive on Secundus, where a lifespan of several centuries is the norm.
The Howard Foundation figures prominently in Methuselah’s Children, To Sail Beyond the Sunset, and Time Enough for Love.