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 philanthropy.


As we look towards a 2022 spend out, we are turning our focus outward to connect and communicate with our peers in philanthropy.

This strategy is highly informed by our grantee partners who have encouraged us to seed our story and trust-based practices in wider networks of investors and funders.

We hope that by the time we close our doors that…

  1. More funders and investors are explicitly valuing and resourcing relationship, dialogue, and equity with a lens of trust.
  2. More funders and investors provide multi-year, unrestricted funding.
  3. More funders and investors practice the kind of trust-based investing that demonstrates equity in what is often an unequal dynamic.
  4. A vibrant, interconnected network of investors and practitioners continue to bring attention to the importance of relationship, trust, and equity in our shared aspirations towards a world that is more equitable, sustainable, and well resourced.

“There are many ways to move forward, but only one way of standing still.”
– Franklin D. Roosevelt