In 2011, TWI found itself at a crossroads. As a small foundation with modest assets, we realized that we could not sustain our level of giving indefinitely (consistently above the legal minimum foundation payout of 5% of assets). At the same time, we could not justify reducing our grants budget at a time when resources were so scarce and our grantees were doing such important work.
We had to make a decision: we could either stretch our resources by cutting back to the five percent payout or we could sustain our higher payout rate, possibly even raising grant amounts, over a shorter time. The board of trustees saw the option to spend out as an opportunity to get clearer about our ultimate purpose as a foundation and to exercise greater influence in the field of philanthropy writ large.
By concentrating our efforts over the next eight years, we intend to support our grantees to move their work forward while increasing the visibility and number of investors whose giving practices are aligned with ours. We will spend out by 2022, with the aspiration that more funders and investors will be explicitly resourcing relationships, dialogue, and equity and doing so through trust based investing.
“There are many ways to move forward, but only one way of standing still.”
– Franklin D. Roosevelt