The trustees of the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation in New York City have announced plans to sunset the foundation over the next decade.
In a letter posted to its website, EMCF board chair Larry Clark and its president and CEO Nancy Roob wrote that the trustees' decision to spend down the foundation's resources — approximately $1 billion — was based on "a deep desire to improve the lives of many more disadvantaged children and youth." Since 2000, the foundation has experimented with ways to address the undercapitalization of high-performing nonprofit organizations working to improve the lives of disadvantaged youth, including growth capital aggregation — pooling its own funds with those of other donors seeking efficient and effective giving vehicles. But in considering what it would take to invest at a level sufficient to address the massive challenges millions of young people face and share the benefits of its investment approach and staff with new donors to avoid duplication of efforts, the foundation decided "to go bigger and go deeper in concert with others."
To that end, over the next ten years EMCF will invest more deeply in Blue Meridian Partners, a collaborative funding vehicle announced last January, and will continue to invest in its Youth Development Fund, which provides capital to grow and enhance the sustainability of high-performing organizations with strong evidence and great track records. In addition, the foundation will continue to expand its PropelNext program, which partners with other investors to help promising nonprofits build their capacity to collect and use data for learning and improvement, and will explore creative ways to share its and its grantees' knowledge about what works in achieving greater scale and impact.
"When the Clark family created the foundation in 1969, they did not envision it as a perpetual foundation," wrote Clark and Roob. "Following much exploration, we all agreed that expanding and accelerating our investment approach, in partnership with others, provided our best shot at fulfilling EMCF's mission now. Being able to build on the momentum capital aggregation has gained and contributing to meaningful innovation in philanthropy are the prime reasons for our decision. Given the urgent needs of youth in our country, the opportunity to dramatically step up our game and our giving is the right decision for us."