Perpetuity or Spend-Down: Does the Notion of Lifespan Matter in Organized Philanthropy?
Authors: Francie Ostrower, Ph.D.
Are foundations with set periods for spending down their assets more effective as grantmakers than their peers who are established to exist in perpetuity? This is a longstanding discussion among philanthropists, with an article on the topic by Ray Madoff and Rob Reich published just yesterday in the Chronicle of Philanthropy. But Dr. Francie Ostrower, who has done extensive and in-depth research into this aspect of foundations, has some answers that may surprise readers.