For anyone setting up a new foundation, one of the big questions – and one that seems to be increasingly on the radar – is whether the foundation should spend down in a limited number of years or exist in perpetuity. One of the difficulties in making a decision on this is the lack of experience: few foundations have actually spent out. The Aaron Diamond Foundation and the Beldon Fund are two that have done so.
The next few years will yield a handful more examples: both the Tubney Charitable Trust in the UK and the French American Charitable Trust (FACT) in the US are due to spend out by the end of this year (though the French part of FACT won’t close until later next year). The Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund plans to close its doors by the end of 2012 and the One Foundation in Ireland a year later.
Alliance magazine’s October interview is with Diane Feeney, current director of FACT, who talked about her experiences of running the trust and the decision to spend down and how this has sharpened the focus over the last few years. Looking back over FACT’s 20 years of existence, Feeney has no regrets. The November interview will be with the chair and director of the Tubney Charitable Trust – so watch this space.