At Foundation Source, we recommend that our clients ask themselves early in the life of their foundations whether their organization should exist in perpetuity or be spent down over a specific period of time. There is no correct answer to this question and the way one chooses to address it is unique to one’s foundation and one’s philanthropic goals. We urge donors to be reflective and realistic about their vision, aspirations and desired impact: What time frame will best serve the causes your foundation has set out to address? What is your family’s desired role now and for years to come?
This white paper offers a framework to help you consider the lifespan of your foundation. The decision of whether to exist over a longer or shorter term will ultimately guide your grantmaking and other foundation activities.