Lesson 9: Ten Things We'd Like to Tell Every New Philanthropist

Lesson #9 - "I want to be sure our family foundation is around for a long time to come so I need to be sure to spend only as much as I have to every year"

There is nothing wrong with that approach, but you might want to consider what more and more philanthropists and foundations are doing now ( i.e. giving away their full corpus within a stated time frame.) Bill and Melinda Gates said 50-100 years, Warren Buffet said 10 years! Whatever the amount, the decision is driven, in part, by the good ol' time value of money--a dollar spent today often has more value than the same dollar spent in the future. If that economic concept applies anywhere, it should really apply to the application of philanthropic funding to social needs and problems.

Some causes and non-profits might deliver more positive good in the world if they had the same amount of money sooner vs. spreading it over a longer period of time. Again, this certainly is not a "mandatory," but it is worth your strong consideration if you are creating a family foundation or some kind of permanent corpus.

By Paul Shoemaker

Find more from Paul Shoemaker and SVP/Seattle here.

Guest Contributor

Posted at 1:00 AM, Jan 06, 2009 in Philanthropic Strategy | Permalink | Comments (1)


I recently came across a wonderful organization, www.Kiva.org, that is focused on microlending. The beauty of their model is that you lend small amounts to entrepreneurs in the poorest areas of the world who repay your loan over time. Since the principle amount is ultimately repaid, you can continue to use the money from your family fund to help others. It's a great idea that helps people become self-sustaining.

Best of luck!


Posted by: Reena Richtermeyer

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