Share

Coutts report examines merits of short and long-term charitable foundations

Coutts report examines merits of short and long-term charitable foundations
News

Coutts report examines merits of short and long-term charitable foundations

Governance | Jonathan Last | 22 Mar 2012

Private bank Coutts has today published a guide that explores the debate around the longevity of charitable foundations and the impact they have, comparing foundations that exist indefinitely to those whose capital is distributed over a set period.

The guide Perpetuity or limited lifespan: How do charitable foundations decide their longevity? identifies the many issues surrounding the pros and cons of perpetuity and limited-life options, featuring case studies of foundations that have grappled with making decisions about how long-term social change can best be achieved.

The guide was launched at a Coutts Forum for Philanthropy held last night, hosted in association with The Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fund, which together with the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust debated the merits of both alternatives.

Many foundations are established to exist in perpetuity, meaning that the capital investment is not spent, and only the interest earned on the investment is distributed to causes. Such charitable foundations provide ongoing financial support to their chosen causes, often for many generations.

Alternatively, ‘spend down’ trusts as they are commonly known, representing a relatively small part of the foundation landscape, will have a limited lifespan as the capital and its interest is distributed over a set period, such as the donor’s own lifetime.

Lenka Setkova, director of philanthropy services at Coutts commented that the debate has been heightened by recent high-profile legacy announcements by people such as Chuck Feeney, founder of The Atlantic Philanthropies, Sir David Sainsbury or Bill Gates who have pledged extensive giving either in their lifetime or during a specific time period.

“There are advantages and disadvantaged to both options," said Setkova. "Some of the advantages of limited lifespan foundations might include the ability to honour donor intent and preserve the founder’s vision. In some cases the causes that a philanthropist might focus on could really benefit from a significant donation.

“However, as illustrated by the work of the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, positive social change often needs patience and persistence and some family foundations exist in perpetuity to create a lasting legacy for the family. Whatever the longevity of a charitable foundation, the key challenge is to ensure that all philanthropic resources are leveraged to maximum affect.”

Comments

[Cancel] | Reply to:

Close »

Community Standards

The civilsociety.co.uk community and comments board is intended as a platform for informed and civilised debate.

We hope to encourage a broad range of views, however, there are standards that we expect commentators to uphold. We reserve the right to delete or amend any comments that do not adhere to these standards.

We welcome:

  • Robust but respectful debate
  • Strongly held opinions
  • Intelligent relevant discussion
  • The sharing of relevant experiences
  • New participants

We will not publish:

  • Rude, threatening, offensive, obscene or abusive language, or links to such material
  • Links to commercial organisations or spam postings. The comments board is not an advertising platform
  • The posting of contact details for yourself or others
  • Comments intended for malicious purpose or mindless abuse
  • Comments purporting to be from another person or organisation under false pretences
  • Gratuitous criticism, commentary or self-promotion
  • Any material which breaches copyright or privacy laws, or could be considered libellous
  • The use of the comments board for the pursuit or extension of personal disputes

Be aware:

  • Views expressed on the comments board are left at users’ discretion and are in no way views held or supported by Civil Society Media
  • Comments left by others may not be accurate, do not rely on them as fact
  • You may be misunderstood - sarcasm and humour can easily be taken out of context, try to be clear

Please:

  • Enjoy the opportunity to express your opinion and respect the right of others to express theirs
  • Confine your remarks to issues rather than personalities

Together we can keep our community a polite, respectful and intelligent platform for discussion.

Free eNews

Golden Lane Housing: Social investment can be 'absolutely the right thing' to do

24 Oct 2014

The director of Golden Lane Housing, the issuer of the first charity bond to be listed on the London Stock...

BeatBullying's technology CIC has not filed accounts with Companies House

22 Oct 2014

A software community interest company set up by the BeatBullying Group in 2012 is almost a year late filing...

Charity Commission to get £9m funding boost and new powers to tackle tax avoidance and terrorism

22 Oct 2014

The Charity Commission will receive £9m of extra funding over the next three years, as well as new powers...

Age UK spends £1.8m in latest round of redundancies

21 Oct 2014

Age UK spent £1.81m on 120 redundancies in 2014, on top of £1.17m last year, as part of a review of...

Stand Up To Cancer raises over £14.5m

21 Oct 2014

This weekend's Stand Up To Cancer event has raised over £14.5m so far, and that figure is continuing...

Charities 'must continue to fight for the right to influence policy'

20 Oct 2014

Civil society organisations must not give up the fight to influence policy and governments, the international...

BeatBullying's technology CIC has not filed accounts with Companies House

22 Oct 2014

A software community interest company set up by the BeatBullying Group in 2012 is almost a year late filing...

Blackbaud launches online giving platform for individual fundraisers

17 Oct 2014

Blackbaud has launched its online giving platform, everydayhero, for fundraisers in the UK in a bid to...

Don't dismiss social media 'slacktivists', fundraisers told at IFC

16 Oct 2014

Charities should embrace and love charity ‘slacktivists’ because social is a great ramp for new donors,...

Join the discussion

Twitter
 
Training

Attending our one day courses is a highly effective way of ensuring new and existing trustees fully understand their role, responsibilities and liabilities.

>> Find out more <<