In 1926 in Des Moines, Iowa, Henry A. Wallace founded the first commercial hybrid seed company, the Pioneer Hi-Bred Corn Company. In 1959, he and his wife Ilo established the Wallace Genetic Foundation from the transfer of Pioneer shares to the Foundation.
Henry A. Wallace believed that "the greatest private pleasure comes from serving the general welfare of all." In order to improve the quality of life for all people, he urged long-term conservation of the soil and of the environment, rather than exploitation of natural resources for temporary profits.
In 1996, the three trustees of the Wallace Genetic Foundation agreed to split the original foundation into three separate foundations: The Wallace Genetic Foundation, Wallace Global Fund, and Wallace Research Foundation. Each foundation continues to incorporate the views of the founder Henry A. Wallace.
The Wallace Genetic Foundation is particularly interested in far-sighted groups and individuals with innovative ideas, and seeks to fund organizations whose work promises to provide long-term national or global benefit.