Foundation Sunsetting

Wed, 09/14/2011

by Dr. Francie Ostrower

Two reports on foundation “sunsetting” by the RGK Center’s Francie Ostrower are available from the Aspen Institute. The reports, which provide important lessons and a guide to decision-making for foundations that “sunset” or “spend down” and close rather than continue in perpetuity, were released by the Aspen Institute’s Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation. The reports are based on a research study conducted by Dr. Ostrower with a grant awarded by the Aspen Institute.

Sunsetting: A Framework for Foundation Life as Well as Death uses detailed case studies to understand why and how foundations decide to terminate. By discussing the common themes, challenges, and opportunities associated with sunsetting, the report shows how limiting a foundation’s life can be a strategy for innovative and effective philanthropy.

Foundation Sunset: A Decision-Making Guide is a practical companion piece drawing on the case studies that shows how donors and trustees can use sunsetting as a philanthropic strategy consistent with their values, circumstances, and motivations. The report serves as a useful guide to help donors and trustees design a blueprint for shutting down.

More information.