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After 34 years of innovative funding, 2016 marked Atlantic Philanthropies’ final year of grantmaking. The foundation will close their doors entirely in 2020. Intentionally shutting down any organization may seem surprising — however, the decision to wind down their philanthropic giving was strategically planned for years. In fact, many donors believe this approach to giving, called time limited philanthropy, may have a better shot at addressing the world’s most pressing challenges.
Many foundations have elected to adapt the spending-down concept to suit their culture, mission, or founders’ preferences. Notably, the Gates Foundation plans to close their doors within 20 years after the death of their last trustee in order to make the greatest possible impact on the 21st century, an idea from Bill and Melinda Gates themselves. Others choose to model their time-limited giving to expedite action on particularly pressing issues; the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, for example, will spend all of its resources by 2020 to conserve the environment and improve the education system in California. This trend is set to become more popular among large foundations in the coming years...