After 50 years of grantmaking, the Dyer-Ives Foundation is undertaking a 5-year process to spend out its corpus. My reasons for changing from a perpetual foundation to a "giving while living" foundation are as follows:
- Today's money is needed to solve today's problems now!
- There is going to be an enormous intergenerational transfer of wealth in the near future.
- I will get to see my money put to work in my lifetime and not worry about "mission drift" after I depart the scene.
- Spending out will focus the mind and concentrate the resources of the foundation in a way that might not happen if Dyer-Ives remained a perpetual foundation.
- I also believe that consideration of a spendout policy is a good exercise for all foundations.
So, nearing my 80th year, I feel that it's time for the foundation to devote all of its assets toward its objective rather than dribbling them out over a long period of time. This will be the fourth phase in the history of the foundation.
In the first phase, Dyer-Ives only supported 2 projects: Kentfields, a rehabilitation program utilizing peer pressure for juvenile delinquents, and the ITM Academy ("I Teach Me" - a title dreamed up by Ray Tardy), a school for drop-outs based on programmed instruction. I am happy to report that both programs continued for many years: Kentfields being run by the sheriff's department and the ITM Academy evolving into Wallbridge Academy.
In the second phase (the late 60's and early 70's), the foundation seeded many forward-looking and often controversial programs that have remained lasting community resources: Project Rehab, The Women's Resource Center, Planned Parenthood and the Fair Housing Center as examples.
The third phase occured in more recent years when the foundation offered support to a number of different social issues such as the Michigan AIDS Fund, the Coalition to End Homelessness, Foreclosure Response and community integration of immigrants.
Through the years the foundation has always been interested in helping neighbors gain a sense of belonging and neighborhoods acquire their own voice. Our fourth phase will continue this neighborhood focus. The Board and staff have decided that the foundation will emphasize collaborations that will plan geographically specific futures and give a permanent voice to these groups through the vehicle of Area Specific Plans being attached to the City of Grand Rapids Master Plan.
As we celebrate the foundation's history and look forward to its new chapter of achievement, we invite you to check the foundation's website to find out more about our past and ongoing projects.