Stanford Social Innovation Review : Informing and inspiring leaders of social change

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Foundations

A Good Ending

Leaders at the Atlantic Philanthropies are modeling best practices for winding down a large, high-profile foundation.

 

We usually think of large private foundations (those with assets of more than $1 billion) as permanent endowments. Names like Ford, Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Packard summon the image of a donor whose vision—and wealth—lasts well beyond his or her lifetime. But a countervailing trend is emerging. Many prospective philanthropists and established foundations are now considering or actively pursuing a limited-life strategy. They are, in other words, planning to close at some future date.

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