Perpetuity or Limited Lifespan: How Do Family Foundations Decide? (2009)

April 2009
The Foundation Center and Council on Foundations

The question of whether a foundation should exist forever (in perpetuity) by building up an endowment and distributing only the interest, or should ‘spend down’ by spending both capital and interest within a set time-period, is one that has gained increased attention in recent years. In the UK, Lord David Sainsbury has become a notable example of spending down, declaring his intention to give away the full value of his Gatsby Foundation during his lifetime. This is therefore a timely report, which presents the findings of a survey of more than 1,000 family foundations in the US, and explores their motivations and decision-making around this big question.

This report is tagged under:

  • Philanthropy stats & trends
  • Trusts & foundations