Contributions

Families Step Up to Meet Economic Crisis

Posted on September 4, 2009 by Joseph Foote

The recession that began in 2008 caused philanthropic assets for most families to decline sharply. Program plans for 2009 and 2010 were disrupted, forcing many philanthropic families to cancel new initiatives, respond to pleas from longstanding grantees about cash shortfalls, and swing rapidly toward support of basic human needs. Families who operate foundations, donor-advised funds, and other formal giving vehicles… Read More

Perpetuity or Limited Lifespan: How Do Family Foundations Decide?

Posted on April 3, 2009 by David Wolcheck, Loren Renz

In recent years, foundation donors and leaders have engaged in an increasing number of conversations on the phenomenon of foundation “spenddown,”or limited lifespan. These discussions have been spurred by the heightened visibility of individual philanthropists who have announced their intention to limit their foundation’s lifespan and by the fact that many family foundations created in the 1980s and 1990s are now facing a transition in leadership that leads them to consider foundation lifespan options that may be open to them… Read More

Giving While Living: the Beldon Fund Spend-Out Story

Posted on March 1, 2009 by The Beldon Fund

The Beldon Fund was created by John Hunting in 1982 as a national foundation committed to promoting sound environmental policies. In 1998, Beldon received a major infusion of funds from the sale of Hunting’s stock in the Steelcase company. Hunting set the foundation on a new course by deciding to spend all its principal and earnings over the next ten years, with the goal of building a national consensus to achieve and sustain a healthy planet. … Read More

Leveraging All of Your Assets

Posted on August 16, 2007 by Kevin Laskowski

“Foundations do not need a lot of money to be effective,” Ylvisaker declared. “If, indeed, they were to exploit only a fraction of the strategies available to them, their individual and collective impact on American life would be vastly and beneficially expanded.” … Read More

Closing the Door: Spending Out Frees the Beldon Fund Board’s Imagination

Posted on October 21, 2005 by Deanne Stone

Many family foundations that make the decision to spend out their assets within a limited timeframe say that doing so keeps them focused on the mission, energized, and on their toes. Bill Roberts, former executive director of the Beldon Fund, speaks for many of the foundations interviewed for NCFP’s Passages Issue Brief on this topic, “Alternatives to Perpetuity: A Conversation… Read More

Difficult Discussions at Difficult Times

Posted on March 4, 2002 by Deanne Stone

This Passages Issue Brief offers suggestions for preparing for and responding to the effect of crises of different magnitude on philanthropic families. These include personal crises such as death, illness, and interpersonal conflicts, as well as community and national crises — including natural disasters, riots, economic recession, and terrorism… Read More

Guidelines to Help Prudent Investment Committees

Posted on October 29, 1999 by John E. Craig Jr.

Seven guidelines for prudent investment committees emerge from this analysis of the determinants of a foundation endowment’s performance: 1. Delegate responsibility for as many investment decisions as possible to professionals. It is unreasonable to expect a part time, voluntary committee to deliver the same level of performance achievable by full-time investment professionals. The economies-of-scale of investment management are such that… Read More

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