The sunsetting Orfalea Fund, as well as the Orfalea Family Foundation, have officially closed their doors once and for all.
For over a decade, the two have cohabitated under the administrative umbrella of the Orfalea Foundation, acting at the behest of their founders, Paul and Natalie Orfalea. (They are now divorced, by the way.) Paul Orfalea was the founder of Kinko's.
the foundation maintains that both Paul and Natalie will continue to be stewards of their fortune. Per the Orfalea Foundation website: “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 Orfalea Foundation had a good run. Focusing on multiple areas of need, most notably school food initiatives, disaster preparedness, and early childhood education, the foundation gave over $175 million to these causes between 2003 and 2015. The foundation also recently received rave reviews for its work in childhood education from Evaluation Specialists, a company that conducts third-party summative evaluations of social services programs.
While we're sad to see it go, it will be interesting to see what Paul and Natalie decide to do in philanthropy as they go their separate ways. The Orfalea Foundation website claims that both plan to continue giving generously, stating that the "individual foundations for Paul and Natalie are in their formative stage at this time."
Although Natalie's specific interests outside of the duo's joint causes are relatively unknown, Paul has actually been quite vocal about the difficulties he experienced with dyslexia as a child, and we've speculated that perhaps education may continue to be a top priority for him, especially involving issues such as difficulties or differences in learning for school-age children.
It's still early in 2016, and the former couple shares a strong sense of duty regarding giving, so don't be surprised if we see a new initiative from Paul or Natalie before the year is up.