January was a rough month for the region's philanthropic world, which lost Patricia van Ameringen Kind and Harold E. "Hal" Taussig Sr. on consecutive days, both at the age of 91.
Kind was a nurse and mother of five from Huntingdon Valley who went on to care for society's most vulnerable through the Patricia Kind Family Foundation, created in 1996 with a gift from the estates of her parents, Hedwig and Arnold Louis van Ameringen.
Taussig was a former Colorado cattle rancher and father of three who started Untours, a travel business in Media committed to the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profits. In 1993, Taussig formed the nonprofit Idyll, later renamed Untours Foundation, through which he routed profits to pioneering businesses helping to build more equitable economies.
Both foundations have been tackling poverty, but their approach to giving differs: Patricia Kind issues mostly grants to agencies in the Philadelphia region; Untours, low-interest loans and equity investments throughout the world.
Now, to honor their founders, the foundations are partnering on a project to get other foundations to spend more of their assets, and to do so in a way that is consistent with their missions.
"Our goal is to get more foundations to do more with their money," said Laura Kind McKenna, one of Kind's daughters, who recently stepped down after serving as managing trustee for 17 years.
Too many philanthropic institutions and individuals give out only the 5 percent minimum required by law each year to meet their tax-exempt status, McKenna said. That 5 percent can include administrative costs.
"The standard foundation structure of using only 5 percent of foundation assets to address a foundation's mission is a waste of 95 percent of its assets," said Elizabeth Killough, director of the Untours Foundation. "On top of not addressing mission, that 95 percent is often invested at cross-purposes to the foundation's mission."
For instance, the same foundation working to address hunger might also be invested in agribusiness, Killough said.
"Together, we are hoping to inspire and guide a paradigm shift in how foundations do business," she said. "If we can motivate even a small percentage of foundations to match their money to their missions, I think that will prove to be the most impactful work either foundation ever accomplishes.
"Bake sales are great, but there are literally billions of endowment dollars right at foundation fingertips just waiting to effect change."