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Beldon Fund (1982–2009)

Total Giving 1982-2009:  $120 million

Average Annual Giving during 10-year spend-down:[1]  $14 million

Total Assets when spend-down was initiated:[2]  $100 million

Prominent Grants:  Thanks to its public policy-oriented grantmaking, the Beldon Fund’s most prominent highlights included giving to state-based campaigns and organizations addressing toxic chemicals in consumer products, as well as strengthen environmental advocacy arms to influence state victories such as the ratification of the Great Lakes Compact in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan; legislation promoting clean drinking water, landfill regulation, power plant regulation, and the establishment of a global warming commission in North Carolina.

Summary: The Beldon Fund was created by environmental philanthropist John Hunting in 1982, with the intention of funding advocacy and public policy issues concerning the environment.  Hunting sold the stock for his father’s sale of his Steelcase company, acquiring $100 million to channel toward the Beldon Fund.  At this stage in 1997, he committed to spending down the foundation’s assets in 10 years.

The Beldon Fund focused on promoting a healthy environment and policies that supported environmental protection through 2 main programs:  The Human Health and the Environment program worked toward reforming policies regulating toxic chemicals in consumer products, while the Key States Program sought to increase the capacity and impact of environmental advocacy efforts in Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Wisconsin.  Ultimately the organization focused its approach in order to optimize its impact during the 10-year spend down, including promoting advocacy, civic engagement, and bringing new voices into the environmental movement.  The organization had a range of policy-related victories that it could claim when it closed its doors in 2009.