The Founders were a group of Changelings from the Gamma Quadrant responsible for both the creation of the Dominion and all strategic decisions undertaken throughout its history. Though generally considered mythical by many Gamma Quadrant races, they remained, as of the late 24th century, the embodiment of the Dominion itself, and the ultimate reason for its existence. (DS9: “The Jem’Hadar”, “The Search, Part I”, “The Search, Part II”)
At one time the Founders were a peaceful, curious race that explored the galaxy, possibly including L-S VI. (DS9: “The Alternate”) Unfortunately, their overtures of peaceful cooperation were met with violent rejection and persecution. Many Gamma Quadrant races, including the Yaderans had fables and mythical tales of Changelings, often depicting them as being a race who they can’t trust and must fear. (DS9: “Shadowplay”) As an adverse reaction to being hunted and rejected, they accepted the pejorative Changeling as their own and retreated to a rogue planet. They then determined that, in order to be safe, they must set themselves the task of creating order from the chaos they saw around them.