Q&A Archive

What is a “taxable expenditure” for a foundation?

Taxable expenditures are grants or expenditures made by a private foundation that are either prohibited, or in Internal Revenue Service (IRS)-specified areas without following the strict IRS rules. The following list provides brief descriptions of those expenditures that are completely prohibited; the list after that provides additional requirements to avoid being taxable expenditures. The following expenditures... Read More

What should we include in a grant agreement?

“Foundations use grant agreements to serve as a contract,” writes Danielle Reyes, executive director of Crimsonbridge Foundation, “typically to confirm details regarding the amount and period of the grant, its purpose, terms and conditions, and required reports and deadlines.” Download sample grant agreements from our Sample Documents Library >> Continues Reyes: Unfortunately, in some cases,... Read More

How do member foundations structure their investment management? Board or staff? Outside managers?

Small-staffed foundations tend to use one of five models for managing and overseeing their investments: Board does it all model—The board develops the foundation’s investment policy, buys and sells assets, and monitors the foundation’s portfolio. Board and small staff do it all model—The board and a small internal staff—in some cases, involving an internal chief... Read More

Do you have advice on setting a foundation spending policy?

There are many ways to determine the endowment spending rate for a nonprofit. Most nonprofits are familiar with less complex approaches that include spending income, assigning a prespecified percentage of the beginning market value, simply deciding on a spending rate, and using the Internal Revenue Service minimum required payout of 5% for certain private foundations.... Read More

We are interested in supporting a local church, but it is unable to document its tax-exempt status. What do you recommend?

Congress has enacted special tax laws that apply to places of worship, religious organizations, and ministers in recognition of their unique status in American society and of their rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. According to the IRS, churches and other places of worship that meet the requirements of IRC Section 501(c)(3) are automatically considered tax... Read More