More Foundations Are Opting Out of Perpetuity—So What?

More Foundations Are Opting Out of Perpetuity—So What?

Among the many trends in giving we have seen advancing over the last decade is a shift toward entertaining shorter time frames for the philanthropic spending of personal fortunes. Now, a new report from Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors suggests the number of time-limited foundations, sometimes referred to as “spend-down foundations,” is gaining on those organized to give in perpetuity.

The rationales behind spending down are as varied as the founders of the foundations that advocate it. Spending now, they say, not only helps current beneficiaries, but many others down the road. For example, philanthropist Chuck Feeney, who has led Atlantic Philanthropies as a spend-down foundation, emphasizes, “If you give while living, the money goes to work quickly and everyone gets to see the action and the results.” That’s true in theory, of course, but the value of this position depends upon the aims and methods of the donor.

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Source: Nonprofit Quarterly


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