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Orfalea Foundation Set to Sunset by End of Year

Paul and Natalie Orfalea, who are now divorced, are ending the Orfalea Family Foundation and Orfalea Fund after 15 years

A local foundation will sunset this year as its founders prepare to launch their own individual philanthropic efforts.

The Orfalea Foundation, which has focused on disaster readiness, school food reform and early childhood education since its inception in 2000, will sunset by the end of 2015, according to a statement sent out from the foundation earlier this month.

The foundation was propelled by the philanthropy of Paul and Natalie Orfalea, who were formerly married.

Paul Orfalea founded Kinko’s, which grew from a single storefront in Isla Vista to thousands of stores across the world before it was sold to Federal Express in 2004.

The end of the foundation and the divorce of the founders is a coincidence, according to Dean Zatkowsky, Orfalea Foundation communications manager.

He said that the pair has been divorced for some time and that Paul Orfalea remarried last year.

“The Orfalea Fund was always intended to be a limited-life entity, as Paul and Natalie prefer a more fast-paced approach to problem-solving. The idea was to create sustainable solutions, not a perpetual organization,” Zatkowsky said.

“While it’s fair to say that the divorce has made the sunset of the Orfalea Fund a little sadder and a little more cumbersome, it was not the impetus, nor even a contributing factor. Vis-a-vis the sunset, it was a coincidence.”

Zatkowsky said that the foundations has sought to keep the programs sustainable and continuing even after the foundations end.

The Foundation, which includes the Orfalea Family Foundation and Orfalea Fund, has released its summative evaluation reports and a Stanford Social Innovation Review supplement that talks about lessons learned.  

The group’s website also contains details on the sunsetting.

“Coincident with the sunset of The Orfalea Fund, Paul and Natalie Orfalea have dissolved the Orfalea Family Foundation and are launching independent foundations to continue pursuing their individual interests in philanthropy,” the statement from early September said, adding that the new foundations are in their formative stages and are not accepting proposals or embarking on new ventures at this time.

“The work of philanthropy is never done,” Natalie Orfalea said in the statement.

“But when there’s real progress under way — when the White House advances early childhood education; when a culture of school food reform is the new normal in districts nationwide; when the work takes on a life of its own — then the entrepreneur is ready to take on a different challenge, and begin work anew. Our philanthropy will continue, but the time of The Orfalea Fund and the Orfalea Family Foundation has come to a close.”

Noozhawk staff writer Lara Cooper can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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