Dan and Marsha Coats established a foundation in 1999 to advance effective compassion across America.  Jay Hein ran their foundation as part of his duties at Hudson Institute.  In 2004, the Coats and Hein used the foundation to create Sagamore Institute.
When Dan Coats returned to the U.S. Senate in 2010, the foundation changed from a separate entity to an operational program of Sagamore Institute now operating as Commonwealth.