Gardiner Howland Shaw was a native Bostonian who graduated with honors from Harvard College in 1915. Two years later, after receiving a Master's Degree, also from Harvard, he joined the United States Department of State. His primary foreign service was in Turkey, where he first became interested in the rehabilitation of criminal offenders. After retiring as Assistant Secretary of State in 1945, Mr. Shaw devoted the rest of his life to adult and juvenile corrections.

Particularly committed to rehabilitation in Washington D.C., Mr. Shaw was a member of the Board of Directors and Board of Visitors at the National Training School. For more than 25 years, he served on the Board of the Bureau of Rehabilitation and was its president from 1936-1953. To mark their appreciation for Mr. Shaw's effort and committment, the Bureau named a halfway house for ex-offenders in his honor. Mr. Shaw was a member of the Special Advisory Committee to the Juvenile Court and a member of the Special Advisory Commission on Juvenile Delinquency to the Department of Public Welfare.

In addition, Mr. Shaw served for nearly 25 years as the Board President of the Osborne Society in New York. He was also a long-standing member of the American Correctional Association. While serving as it's president in 1942, Shaw expressed the following thoughts about the need for services to offenders:

[The] constituency we represent is not a popular one. [We face] a substantial measure of public incomprehension to that .. must be added an increment of misunderstanding. [The] offender, whether young or old, tends to be looked upon with irritation and resentment, and the care and patience which efforts at rehabilitation require will be forthcoming only because of greater and wiser efforts on our part.

These words exemplify the ideals of the Shaw Foundation and serve as the basis for its challenging philanthropic mission.