I read an article that told of the Olin Foundation, which was closing its doors. It seems when the Olin family set up their multi-million dollar trust, they specifically mandated the funds be spent within one generation. I thought that was a novel idea....set up a charity or foundation then actually give away all the money to projects or groups per the donor's intent.
Just think if some other foundations were to do that. Jeez, the enormous Ford Foundation has enough money to try and fix every problem in the city of Detroit if the foundation was determined to spend all its funds. What a grand experiment that would be!
Unfortunately, most foundations only spend a miniscule percentage of their available funds each year (5-10%). They tend to evolve into big bureaucracies that provide a lotta high-paying jobs to (it would seem) career bootlickers. It would be enlightening to compare the bequest instructions (or founder's mission statement) to the activities of the actual foundation years later. Don't you think?