Created as the result of the sale of property in Santa Barbara, California, the Eleos Foundation was originally managed by an all-volunteer board making small grants to NGOs in emerging markets. Following a realization by the board that Eleos was not as effective as it could be, in 2010 the decision was made that the foundation would spend down over ten years, and use its assets to invest in early-stage start-up companies that aim to address extreme poverty.
Why was this decision made, Caroline Hartnell asked John Duffy, Eleos Director of Strategic Partnerships? And what does a spend-down foundation that is an impact investor look like? As this interview makes clear, Eleos is not exactly a typical spend-down foundation.