This list of Frequently Asked Questions provides brief answers to many common questions we have received over the past few weeks after announcing that FEX would cease programmatic operations.
Is FEX closing?
Yes. On March 1, 2013, the Board of Directors met and unanimously voted to dissolve the organization.
Severe changes to the economy over the last 5 years have impacted the business model on which FEX has been operating and it is no longer sustainable to maintain staff and programmatic operations.
Who made this decision?
The Board of Directors of the Funding Exchange made this decision based on fiscal realities and close financial assessment. This was a very hard but carefully considered decision.
Why didn’t we change the business model?
The context and landscape of social justice philanthropy has changed considerably since the founding of the Funding Exchange in 1979. FEX has in fact played a leading role in many of these changes – especially in the remarkable expansion of funders committed to social justice and the incorporation of grassroots community leadership in grant-making decisions.
There are now many more options for donors who wish to establish donor advised funds including for-profit financial institutions that have the resources to provide a great deal more technological support. As larger funders have adopted pieces of the FEX model, they are less interested in working through intermediaries like the FEX network. In addition, member funds have more opportunities for networking and access to capacity-building resources that in the early days of FEX, thanks in large part to the proliferation of progressive philanthropic networks.
In the context of this new landscape, the board did not believe that an effort at “reinvention” of FEX would ultimately be successful or sustainable.
What will happen to FEX programs? What will happen to the FEX office?
All programming has ceased. Grants that have been awarded will be honored. Donor advised fund grantmaking will wind down over the next several months and will close on June 30.
The Board has retained the services of Rudder Properties Group, a commercial brokerage that specializes in the sale of office condominiums in Manhattan, to market and sell the FEX office at 666 Broadway.
The Board of Directors will now prepare a plan for dissolution, which must be approved by the New York State Attorney General. The legal process required to dissolve a nonprofit in New York is complex and we have been advised that it may take up to nine months.
What will happen with the Donor Advised funds?
The FEX staff and executive committee members are working with donors who can choose to grant out the dollars in their DA funds or work with staff to find another organization to house the DAF and provide the kind of service you’ve come to know at Funding Exchange. If you are interested in moving your funds, you may do so after June 30, 2013.
What will happen to progressive, social justice philanthropy?
The Funding Exchange has been a trailblazer and a beacon for progressive philanthropy in the United States since 1979. What began as a network of six regional funds has grown to sixteen grassroots funding organizations with a shared commitment to supporting grassroots organizing. These funds will continue strong regional leadership, seek opportunities for ongoing collaboration, and support broad efforts for connecting social justice philanthropic endeavors. We encourage you to contact a local member fund in your area. Here is a list of member funds.
Grant seekers, please contact a local member fund for information on current funding opportunities:
Donors seeking to establish donor-advised funds for progressive grantmaking may consider working with a Funding Exchange member fund.
As the FEX Board proceeds to finalize a course of action, rest assured that there will be intentionally established and publicly announced opportunities to preserve the important place in history that FEX has occupied; to articulate a legacy, connect it to a living present, and point it towards a mutually created collective vision for the future. If you’d like to be involved in this effort, please complete a brief online survey here.
I have more questions, who should I contact?
For more information, please contact:
Richard Burns, Interim Executive Director
666 Broadway #500
New York, NY 10012
E: richard.burns [at] fex.org
T: 212-529-5300 x312