Should We Convert to an Operating Foundation?

Foundations frequently wonder what costs are acceptable to incur while making grants. Grantmaking foundations that have higher-than-average costs often defend themselves by pointing out they sometimes include direct charitable activities (DCAs) in their administrative costs, which are part of their 5% qualifying distributions. These grantmaking foundations sometimes sponsor charitable work, such as convening meetings of... Read More

Self-Dealing Issues for Private Foundations That Co-Invest With Disqualified Persons

Private foundations, or PFs, occasionally consider making investments in vehicles in which one or more of their disqualified persons, or DPs (e.g., officers, directors, substantial contributors) also have invested or also are considering an investment. This article focuses on issues raised for investments in vehicles that are owned and managed by persons unrelated to the... Read More

Scholarships and Other Grants to Individuals

Private foundations may grant to individuals in four permitted ways, with different recordkeeping and Form 990-PF reporting requirements for each. Grants to individuals for travel, study, or similar purposes via a public charity intermediary, such as a school or university Issuing a grant to an intermediary is the simplest way to award travel fellowships, scholarships,... Read More

Public Disclosure Requirements

As a private foundation, you are required to make the following documents available to the public: Form 990-PF, the annual information return filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), for the 3 most recent years Form 1023, the application for federal tax-exempt status (and all related correspondence with the IRS) Form 990-T, the unrelated business... Read More

Protecting Your Foundation With Insurance

In today’s litigious society, anyone—including your foundation and the individuals associated with it—may be the target of a lawsuit. Although state and federal laws may provide some protection for your board members and volunteers, this immunity will extend to your organization in only a few states. These laws often contain no protection for legal expenses,... Read More

Private Foundation Governance: Learning From Changes to Form 990

In 2008, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) significantly revised Form 990, the information return filed by public charities, and focused portions of the revised form on public charities’ governance. Although few governance issues raised by the IRS reflect actual legal requirements, the IRS has had the presumably intended effect of leading many public charities to... Read More