We usually think of large private foundations (those with assets of more than $1 billion) as permanent endowments. Names like Ford, Carnegie, Rockefeller, and Packard summon the image of a donor whose vision—and wealth—lasts well beyond his or her lifetime. But a countervailing trend is emerging. Many prospective philanthropists and established foundations are now considering or actively pursuing a limited-life strategy. They are, in other words, planning to close at some future date.


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