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Open Endowment is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit endowment that makes it possible for everyone to create a lasting charitable legacy.

Traditionally, the world philanthropic giving through charitable trusts and private foundations was limited to those with very substantial assets. While the large-scale philanthropy is wonderful and powerful, it leaves out millions of people who do not have a fortune to dedicate to their charitable priorities. Open Endowment hopes to change that.

At Open Endowment, anyone can establish a lasting, personal charitable fund starting with as little as $45.

Charitable funds at Open Endowment are controlled by individuals in our community. The direction of gifts made by each fund is set by the manager (or managers) of that fund. Like most charitable endowments, Open Endowment will distribute only a part its charitable assets each year. However, our distribution rate is nearly twice as high as most endowment organizations. As such, there is no guarantee about the longevity of a charitable fund at Open Endowment. If investment returns do not meet the distribution goal, charitable balances will shrink.

The system at Open Endowment will notify fund managers before each distribution is made from their fund. The notification will update fund administrators and managers on the health of their fund and provide information about the upcoming distribution and the beneficiary organization. At any point, people can add more money to their charitable fund or change the causes that their fund is supporting.

Open Endowment helps direct funds to “best-in-class” non-profits by using a transparent, quantitative ranking model based on independent, third-party research. By focusing donations towards the most effective organizations, we hope to maximize the “return on investment” for our charitable gifts. [More on our Research Philoshophy]

Also, by aggregating the gifts of many small charitable funds, Open Endowment hopes to increase the impact efficiency for both the donors and the recipient organizations. Instead of getting many small gifts, a beneficiary organization will receive fewer, larger gifts. This helps to improve their processing efficiency. Also philanthropists at Open Endowment will know that their small gifts are making a larger impact because each gift is now part of a collective gift from the entire community at Open Endowment.

The mission of Open Endowment is to empower small donations to make a bigger impact and make charitable giving a fun, life-long engagement for everyone.



Open Endowment NFP is 501(c)(3) non-profit organization incorporated in the State of Illinois. The organization was founded in December 2009 and the website was launched in November 2010. With the assistance of Mayer Brown LLP, the Open Endowment NFP filed its 501(c)(3) application in November 2010. Our organization was granted non-profit status in March 2012.

Open Endowment NFP in IRS list of Organizations Eligible to Receive Tax-Deductible Contributions (IRS Publication 78).

Contributions to Open Endowment NFP and Open Endowment funds are deductible under section 170 of the IRS code. Bequests, transfers, and gifts are tax deductible under sections 2055, 2016, and 2522.


Open Endowment NFP is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation.
© 2009-2012 Open Endowment NFP

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