Giving While Living:
The Beldon Fund Spend-Out Story
A comprehensive look at how the Beldon Fund handled the practical implications of putting the foundation on a spend-out course while seeking to accomplish an ambitious mission.
To order a hard copy of "Giving While Living" please contact:
Includes chapters on:
- Building a Financial Strategy for Spend Out
- Operations – Staffing for Spend Out and Preparing to Close the Doors
- Developing a Program Strategy
- Preparing Grantees to Thrive After You’re Gone
Spend-Out Lessons PDF
Tips on how to develop a spend-out budget, build a field of practice, manage staff in the final months, achieve impact in a limited time frame, and responsible exiting principles.
Other Resources on Spending Down and Spending Out
A Message From John Hunting
Founder and Chair
When I decided in 1998 to spend the Beldon Fund’s $100 million endowment in ten years, the goal was to use these resources to help build public and policy support for environmental protection. The decision reflected my belief in the urgency of this mission and a strong sense that making large investments over a shorter period of time would be more effective than making smaller grants over many years.
Setting a limited time horizon shaped decisions about staffing, operations, grant making and financial investment strategies. It also affected the foundation’s impact. Looking back on the Beldon Fund’s 10-year arc, and with the benefit of three external evaluations conducted in our last year, I can see that spending out and focusing on policy change had a synergistic effect. By spending out, Beldon was able to concentrate the resources necessary to strengthen environmental advocacy. And by focusing on public policy, the foundation’s programs were able to achieve some concrete results that will last long after our exit.
As the Beldon Fund prepares to close its doors, I thought it might be helpful to share with others what we learned from our spend-out experience – the challenges we grappled with, the steps we took to address them, and the strategies that worked well for us. While this is the particular story of one foundation, I think you will find that the lessons are applicable more broadly.
I hope our monograph “Giving While Living: The Beldon Fund Spend-Out Story” (see sidebar), will be useful to other philanthropists and philanthropic advisors – current and prospective – who are interested in exploring the option of spending out, or at least spending more, to make a difference.
It is not meant to be a definitive guide to spending out – additional resources on this topic are listed at the end and posted on our website. It is, however, a comprehensive look at how the Beldon Fund handled the practical implications of putting the foundation on a spend-out course while seeking to accomplish an ambitious mission.
The Beldon Fund’s website provides more information on the foundation’s program strategies, grantees, lessons from our work and external assessments of Beldon’s impact. I hope you will find these materials helpful as you each continue your philanthropic journey.
John Hunting, Founder and Chair