Literature Review on Time-Limited Philanthropy

At the request of the Center for Strategic Philanthropy & Civil Society and The Atlantic Philanthropies, the Foundation Center conducted a review of practitioner-based research, academic research, and social sector news and blogs on the topic of limited-lifespan foundations. This spreadsheet summarizes the material discovered in that review. The search drew from sources including IssueLab, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly, Foundation Review, and The Chronicle of Philanthropy, as well as Google Scholar, top philanthropy blogs, and the websites of self-identified limited-lifespan foundations. The Center included resources focused on motivations for choosing a limited lifespan, implementation of the sunsetting process, and the effects the decision to limit lifespan has on a foundation’s operation and impact. In addition, the Center examined key resources beyond the literature on limited-lifespan foundations related to measuring social returns—in particular the effect of the timing of giving on social value.

Related Document

Blog Posts

More on time, value, and time limits

February 19, 2018

A new report applies a theory of time and value in philanthropy to three real cases, to see how a foundation could decide whether to operate with a limited life, based on the amount and kind of value it hopes to create.


Oct 05

Rip Rapson
President and CEO
The Kresge Foundation