3 Lessons Learned From Spending Down

Video Update from CEO, Glen Galaich
Sept. 16, 2020



“What is it like to work at a spend down foundation?” 


“What are you learning?” 


“How do you do things differently?”


Those are some of the most common questions we receive at the Stupski Foundation, where our work has a set end date of 2029. In this video, I address each of those questions and share stories about how our spend down trajectory has put productive pressure on every aspect of our work. We’re listening closely to our communities to make sure we partner with them in the ways they want. We’re identifying who can continue to push for change and achieve results long after we close. We’re scrutinizing our investments to make sure none are working counter to our mission. In all of those ways, our spend down reminds us to do all we can to maximize our impact today. 


After reflecting on the past five years of our spend down, three key lessons are surfacing that I would like to share with you:


  1. Engage deeply with the communities you serve.
  2. Let the potential for results, not artificial spending limits, drive your decision-making.
  3. Align your endowment with your mission. 


Although those lessons come from the perspective of the spend down structure we work in, each lesson also applies to all philanthropic giving—from just a few dollars up to multimillion-dollar grants. I hope that those insights help you and that you’ll share your own lessons for what works via Twitter, where you’ll find us at @StupskiFDN