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The latest news and announcements from the Bullitt Foundation

The Bullitt Foundation to Sunset its Grantmaking in 2024

on Wed, Jun 12, 2019 at 9:50 AM

On June 11th, 2019, The Bullitt Foundation announced that it will sunset its grantmaking in 2024. The Foundation also announced that the Bullitt Center will serve as a gift to the Pacific Northwest environmental community. The Foundation will provide office space in perpetuity at significantly below market rates to regional environmental groups.

“When we endowed the Foundation in 1991, we intended to completely spend it down in 10 years,” said Harriet Bullitt, Foundation trustee. “But we invested wisely and have been able to greatly extend its life despite our very generous grant-making programs.”  

Over the past 25 years, the Bullitt Foundation has paid out an average of 9 percent of its endowment annually, significantly exceeding the 5 percent requirement set by the Internal Revenue Service. This payout was on top of administrative, investment management, legal, tax accounting, and other expenses. The Foundation does not anticipate any changes in its program areas or geography ahead of the sunset of its grantmaking.

Since 1992, the Foundation has granted more than $200 million, developed the Bullitt Center, permanently protected $100 million in ecologically valuable lands through a revolving loan fund, funded the preparatory work to protect nearly 300,000 acres in national monuments, invested in emerging leaders, and endowed several professorships. It has played a leadership role in emphasizing JEDI (justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion) elements in green grantmaking. 

More details about the Foundation’s work can be found in a story published by the Seattle Times, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer also published a brief history of the Foundation.  

“We are proud to have played a role, quietly and in the background, to help shape three of the greenest cities in the world,” said Denis Hayes, CEO of the Foundation. “We’ve worked hard to establish a model of deeply sustainable development in this region, and we are now approaching the point when we must pass the torch to the next generation of environmental philanthropists,” he added.

Called the “greenest office building in the world” by World Architect magazine, the Bullitt Center will transition its tenants to organizations committed to building a sustainable future. The building has operated in the black for six years as a commercial office building. After 2024, the Bullitt Foundation will limit its focus on managing the Bullitt Center and will continue to administer the annual Bullitt Environmental Prize to emerging environmental leaders.

The Foundation’s program team will be working with current grantees to plan for the sunset.