“There is no fact in history which posterity will find it more difficult to understand, than the idea of perpetuity,” wrote John Stuart Mill about foundations in 1833. With more than US $1 trillion set aside in private foundations and donor-advised funds, with only the former subject to an annual (and small) payout rule, these funds can sit more or less untouched over generations. Foundations have the legal capacity to exist in perpetuity and many are designed to do so. However, we hear today, from those both inside and outside the philanthropic community, about the importance of “Giving while Living” or spending out soon after the death of the initial donor.

How should we think about the lifespan of a philanthropic endowment? How might philanthropy balance its responsibility to the present with is obligations to the future? This public event brings together leaders from some of our country’s most prominent foundations to address how they consider the relationship between giving and time.

About the Panelists
Cedric Brown is the Chief of Community Engagement at the Kapor Center for Social Impact.

Emmett D. Carson is the founding CEO of Silicon Valley Community Foundation.

Larry Kramer is President of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

Clara Miller is President of The F. B. Heron Foundation.

Christopher G. Oechsli is President and CEO of The Atlantic Philanthropies.

Jeff Raikes is the co-founder of the Raikes Foundation and the former CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Rob Reich is the Faculty Co-Director of the Stanford Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society.