“Two of Paul Newman’s daughters sued the Newman’s Own Foundation, saying its leaders have strayed from their late father’s wishes and limited their involvement in its charitable giving.” – Wall Street Journal
The point of this post isn’t to do a deep dive into the drama at Newman’s Own Foundation. What this story underlines is the danger of leaving the implementation of your charitable goals to third parties.*
There is necessarily going to be a gap between your best intentions and what actually gets done. This is the case whether it is done by your offspring, or even more so in the case of third parties. That’s just the nature of life (and management). The longer your money sticks the around, the greater the risk that implementation gap grows over time.
You likely won’t get things perfect either, but at least they will have been your own decisions (and mistakes). That is why what Mackenzie Scott is doing is so great. She is giving away money hand over fist with the goal of getting rid of the vast majority of it before her passing. No private foundation, no bureaucracy. Just impact.
Most of us don’t have the kind of generational wealth where we have to worry about the operation of our private foundation. But we all do have a choice of what to do with your money during our lifetime. You don’t necessarily need to die with zero, but it is likely that giving away your money early and often has a better chance of meeting your goals.
*We are excepting cases of gross mismanagement, outright fraud, or criminal activity, obviously.