Thursday, October 8, 2015
Atlantic and Bronfman Philanthropies Among Those Profiled for Spend Down Strategies
To capture the magic of compounding.” For spritely Gisèle Huff, that is both reason and reward for a limited-life foundation. Looking back over her 17 years as executive director of the Jaquelin Hume Foundation, she believes the big bets and sharp focus of its grantmaking have sparked outsized results. When you put significant money to work early, she advises, “you can change the world in front of your own eyes.” The Hume Foundation has another three to four years to invest its remaining assets—in its case in blended-learning strategies for improving our nation’s schools.
It wasn’t always expected that the Hume Foundation would spend itself to zero. When founder Jack Hume died, the foundation had a clear statement of donor intent that had been followed faithfully by the trustees, all of whom had known him and agreed with his guidelines. But the trustees weren’t certain Jack’s successors would share his vision. “The members of the next generation have their own careers, their own interests and, most importantly, their own views of the world,” wrote his son, William, to explain the trustees’ decision to sunset. “It is hard enough for the current trustees to adhere to his intent; it would be doubly difficult for my children to do so.” And so the foundation, established at first with aims of perpetuity, changed course. It would spend itself out of existence....