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Keeping what counts: Should limited-life foundations create archives?

by Matthew La Rocque

May 1, 2019

When a foundation chooses to wind down and close its doors, it will at some point confront the question of what to leave behind. In approaching that question, some consider establishing a foundation archive.

While there is no common playbook when it comes to archiving, foundations considering an archive might ask:

1. Do we have knowledge or experience that could benefit others?

2. Which people, organizations, and networks do we most want to reach with that knowledge?

3. Is an archive the right or best way to reach them?

This essay seeks to help foundations confront these questions. It examines what foundations leave behind when they close, the benefits and challenges of establishing archives, how and where archives live, and how foundations can begin the archiving process.