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Taconic Foundation (1959–projected: 2012)

Total Assets (endowment): $7,000,000[1]

Total Assets (as of 2010 spend-down decision): $10,953,714

Total Giving (as of 2010 spend-down decision): $340,00

Prominent Grants: Established to fund the civil rights movement. Giving primarily in the New York area in later years. Prominent grant recipients include Dr. Martin Luther King, NAACP, and the National Urban League.

Summary: Stephen Currier and Audrey Bruce, granddaughter of Andrew W. Mellon, established the Taconic Foundation. The couple made the decision to donate, while living, the bulk of their wealth to philanthropic causes, especially to promote civil rights. The Foundation supported organizations working in the areas of housing, community development, and equality of opportunity. Since its inception, the Foundation was part of a network of donors funding progressive causes.

The Foundation was one of the earliest funders of Dr. Martin Luther King’s work, joining a group of grant-makers nicknamed “Freedom Funders.” In the late 1980s, the family was tragically killed in a plane crash. Since the Foundation had been primarily funded by annual contributions from the Curriers, not an endowment, the Foundation’s grant-making ability was drastically reduced. Following this tragic and unexpected turn of events, the board chose to focus its limited funding on New York almost exclusively. In 2010, the board made the decision to sunset the foundation as the Curriers intended. All of the final funding was restricted to fellowships with the hope that Taconic funds would once again fund a social equality movement like Dr. King’s[2].