Conference of Southwest Foundations presents

Move Over 5%, and Let Mission Drive

For complete information and to register, click here.


Many donors to private foundations focus on the tax benefits and logistical questions involved in setting them up and don't pay as much attention to the larger question of their missions. Of particular influence is the IRS requirement that foundations distribute 5% of their net assets to charity each year. Set by Congress, this arbitrary number dictates the spending policies and corresponding investment strategy of most foundations. By focusing on the tax and logistical issues involved in setting up foundations, lawyers, accountants and other advisors may put off or ignore the opportunity to help donors define the core missions of their foundations. Once the foundations are up and running, the focus tends to shift to managing assets and complying with IRS guidelines. Unfortunately, the history of philanthropy is littered with examples in which donor intent was fuzzy or misinterpreted leaving the donor or their family with disappointing results.

In their recently released whitepaper, Peter Frumkin (University of Texas) and David Klenke and Chris Didier (Baird Family Wealth Group) explore the critical linkage that exists for large donors between their mission, spending policy and their investment strategy for their charitable assets. This seminar will share their research and examine how donors may increase the likelihood of the success of their foundation by defining their mission separately from tax law, creating spend policies that correspond with those missions while meeting the minimum distribution requirement and, finally, setting investment strategies that are appropriate for those policies.

About the Presenters:

Peter Frumkin is Professor of Public Affairs and Director of the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin. His research and teaching focus on social entrepreneurship and philanthropy. Frumkin is the author of numerous articles on all aspects of philanthropy. He has lectured on philanthropy at meetings of grantmakers across the country and served as a consultant to foundations and individual donors on strategy and evaluation. His book, Strategic Giving: The Art and Science of Philanthropy, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 2006. It has been touted by reviewers as the "benchmark text for the field" and "the most penetrating exploration of contemporary philanthropy now available."

Christopher G. Didier is a Managing Director of the Baird Family Wealth Group. He holds an MBA from the University of Chicago and is a CFA Charterholder. Chris was named to Worth magazine's "Top 100 Wealth Advisors" in 2007. The Baird Family Wealth Group is a multi-family office committed to providing customized and comprehensive wealth management services to business owners or executives with at least $25 million in investable assets. Baird Family Wealth Group has offices in Milwaukee, WI and Dallas, TX.

Download the whitepaper here.