by Lee Draper
Thinking that you might have only a finite time to pursue philanthropy promotes focus. What do you really want to accomplish?
Furthermore, it encourages a foundation to build nonprofit capacity (for the day when it won’t be around anymore). And the most important capacity building that sunseting foundations can do is developing nonprofit fundraising infrastructure (echoes of Dan Pallotta’s fabulous plenary remarks at the Council on Foundations conference). We can seek to leverage every investment so that nonprofits are building relationships with other donors that can replace the foundation’s support after it is gone. Again, why can’t we all integrate this thinking regardless of whether our foundations are in perpetuity or of finite life?
After hearing conference panelists discuss foundation perpetuity, each of whom is a terrific grantmaker committed to some of the toughest and most important issues of our time, I couldn’t help lamenting: why are they going out of business and who will really replace their powerful work?
Posted by Kris Putnam-Walkerly © Kris Putnam-Walkerly and Philanthropy411, 2010.