Sidney Frank: Family Philanthropy

In 2005, Sidney E. Frank started thinking seriously about his philanthropic ambitions. A highly successful entrepreneur who created Grey Goose vodka and marketed and distributed other premium liquor brands such as Jägermeister, Mr. Frank turned to Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors to put together a plan for a foundation that would live well beyond him. After Mr. Frank died in 2006, RPA began to integrate his family into the foundation in order to continue his legacy. RPA helped to formalize all the operational and governance aspects of the foundation, including hiring an investment consulting firm and auditor and developing policies and procedures so the foundation operated smoothly and efficiently. RPA also sat down with the trustees to identify and develop their preferred areas of giving.

Building on a legacy

The trustees had a strong interest in maintaining Mr. Frank’s legacy but also wanted to explore new interests for the foundation. RPA assembled a team of advisors with deep expertise in each giving area under consideration. And in early 2008, the trustees and their RPA advisors developed the foundation’s first docket of grants, with substantial amounts committed to the arts, education, medical research and climate change.

Finding a cause

In April 2008, after attending an RPA symposium on climate change, the trustees asked RPA to develop a docket specifically aimed at addressing environmental issues in relation to the creation of new coal power plants, which would be a major source of global warming emissions. RPA provided due diligence and analysis and made a series of recommendations, which were approved by the foundation’s trustees. A series of grants to the Energy Foundation, the Rockefeller Family Fund and the Sierra Club helped to establish a campaign coordinator in relation to the coal issue.

Deeply engaged trustees

With strategic planning, research and grants management support from RPA, the Sidney E. Frank Foundation has developed a sophisticated, innovative giving program. RPA also works with the family on discretionary giving and its involvement in various aspects of the foundation. As a result, the trustees are passionate about achieving impact with their giving and are actively engaged in attending grantee site visits with RPA staff.

Click here to return to Client Examples.

Philanthropists Set Spending Deadlines

The Wall Street Journal
May 21, 2009
By Shelly Banjo

A growing number of philanthropists are adopting spending deadlines and sunset provisions to ensure urgent global needs are addressed in a timely way.

By granting the entirety of funds within a certain period of time, these charitable efforts are looking to have a bigger immediate impact than traditional foundations, which are typically set up to last forever and pay out roughly 5% of assets a year.

Read the full article