S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation

Legacy Collection

In December 2020, the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation concluded operations. Founded in 1957, the Foundation was committed to building a productive, vibrant, and sustainable California. In 2009, the Foundation decided to invest all of its assets, or spend down, by 2020 in order to spur significant progress on the challenging issues facing the state in education and environment. This collection features knowledge produced by the Foundation and its partners during its final decade of work. Read concluding reflections from the Foundation's president and learn more about its grantmaking.

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Sooner Rather Than Later, Chapter 3: 2018-2020

December 14, 2020

In 2009, following five decades of Foundation growth and impact, the Board of Directors for this family philanthropy chose to spend down all assets. In the words of its founder, this decision reflected a commitment to finding lasting solutions to California's critical challenges "sooner rather than later." The spend-down horizon was initially set for eight years and then adjusted to establish 2020 as the Foundation's end date. In the series, "Sooner Rather Than Later: The S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation Spend-down Journey", the Foundation documented its journey to inform the interests and practices of other philanthropies that are considering or conducting a spend down. Chapter 3 of the series reports on the Foundation's final years and carries perspectives on major programs and operations across the spend down.

S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation Story
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Sooner Rather Than Later, Chapter 2: 2014-2017

May 1, 2020

In 2009, following five decades of Foundation growth and impact, the Board of Directors for this family philanthropy chose to spend down all assets. In the words of its founder, this decision reflected a commitment to finding lasting solutions to California's critical challenges "sooner rather than later." The spend-down horizon was initially set for eight years and then adjusted to establish 2020 as the Foundation's end date.In the series, "Sooner Rather Than Later: The S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation Spend-down Journey", the Foundation documented its journey to inform the interests and practices of other philanthropies that are considering or conducting a spend down. Chapter 2 of the series describes the evolution of the Foundation's major program investments and initiatives during the central spend-down years.

S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation Story
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Sooner Rather Than Later, Chapter 1: 2009-2013

November 1, 2019

In 2009, following five decades of Foundation growth and impact, the Board of Directors for this family philanthropy chose to spend down all assets. In the words of its founder, this decision reflected a commitment to finding lasting solutions to California's critical challenges "sooner rather than later." The spend-down horizon was initially set for eight years and then adjusted to establish 2020 as the Foundation's end date.In the series, "Sooner Rather Than Later: The S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation Spend-down Journey", the Foundation documented its journey to inform the interests and practices of other philanthropies that are considering or conducting a spend down. Chapter 1 of the series is a chronicle of the activation of spend-down practices, including the "strategic refresh" that would guide Foundation program investments through its conclusion.

S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation Story
Featured

Sooner Rather Than Later, Prologue: 1957-2008

November 1, 2019

In 2009, following five decades of Foundation growth and impact, the Board of Directors for this family philanthropy chose to spend down all assets. In the words of its founder, this decision reflected a commitment to finding lasting solutions to California's critical challenges "sooner rather than later." The spend-down horizon was initially set for eight years and then adjusted to establish 2020 as the Foundation's end date.In the series, "Sooner Rather Than Later: The S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation Spend-down Journey", the Foundation documented its journey to inform the interests and practices of other philanthropies that are considering or conducting a spend down. This series prologue summarizes the evolution and work of the Foundation across five decades of grantmaking, culminating with the decision to spend down all assets.

S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation Story

Spending Down: Laurie Dachs Answers Questions for Family Philanthropies

December 17, 2020

In October 2020, Nick Tedesco, president and CEO of the National Center for Family Philanthropy (NCFP), talked with Lauren B. (Laurie) Dachs, president and vice chair of the board at the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, about spending down all assets. The Foundation was founded in 1957; in 2009 it became a limited-life philanthropy and completed its spend down at the end of 2020. Nick's questions and Laurie's responses are captured here for reference by other grantmakers that are implementing or considering spending down.

S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation Story; Spend-down and Exit Practice

S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation Spend-Down Timeline

December 10, 2020

In 2009, following five decades of Foundation growth and impact, the Board of Directors for this family philanthropy chose to spend down all assets. In the words of its founder, this decision reflected a commitment to finding lasting solutions to California's critical challenges "sooner rather than later." The spend-down horizon was initially set for eight years and then adjusted to establish 2020 as the Foundation's end date. This timeline summarizes the Foundation's most significant programmatic activities in relation to relevant external events, as well as key information about the Foundation's grants, endowment, and staffing, from 2008 (the year prior to the spend-down decision) through 2020.

S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation Story

About this collection:   Presidents reflections | Intellectual property