The Phelps Stokes Fund serves in a variety of distinct capacities:
* Think tank: Throughout its history, PS has initiated, conducted, and sponsored educational surveys and research studies aimed at shaping educational policy vis à vis African Americans, Native Americans, and Africans.
* Operating fund: PS raises money and makes grants on behalf of foundations as well as private donors, corporations, and government agencies.
* Service provider: PS “solicits contracts from a variety of government and private-sector partners to manage programs and provide services in keeping with the Fund’s mission.”
* Incubator: PS helps fledgling institutions “clarif[y] their missions,… build a base of support, develop programs, manage contracts, and raise money.” A number of now-prominent organizations trace their beginnings to the Phelps Stokes Fund.
* Advocate: PS “voices the concerns of under-resourced communities as well as marginalized groups to leverage their ability to promote change, reconciliation and rehabilitation.”