Resources

Discretionary Grants Policy

Discretionary grantmaking is the practice of allowing board members and, in some cases, committee members, family members, or staff to direct a portion of grantmaking dollars to organizations of their choice. Although the board is legally responsible for all discretionary grants, the grants generally are approved without extensive review or discussion. They truly are made... Read More

Conflict of Interest Policy

A conflict of interest can occur any time a board member or staff’s outside involvements (e.g., business interests, family relationships, political affiliations, other charitable activities) intersect with those of the foundation. The benefit, or potential benefit by board or staff, can lead to biased decisions and unethical behavior, or the appearance of such. In instances... Read More

Board Policies

Board policies work in tandem with the foundation’s bylaws or trust document to create the foundation’s structure. Bylaws or the trust document are legally binding and based in state law; policies also are considered binding, but they are less likely to be backed by force of law and are easier to amend (e.g., usually by... Read More

Board Composition

Basic requirements for board composition generally are reflected in a foundation’s bylaws or trust document. You’ll also want to consider the qualities you want in individuals who serve on your board. It is helpful to describe the expectations of board members in a position description. Bylaws or trust document requirements Every state has basic requirements... Read More

Board Committees and Advisory Committees

Board committees and advisory committees are common structures that boards establish to better manage the foundation. Board committees comprise board members and can make certain decisions on behalf of the full board. Advisory committees often include non-board members, although at least one board member should be involved too. Advisory committees exist to provide recommendations; they... Read More

Annual Board To-Dos: A Checklist for Running a Foundation

The following checklist, designed for established foundations (not start-ups), offers recommended and legally required action items. We encourage you to make it your own. Governance Board meetings—Give notice, take care of business, hold elections, and set a meeting calendar (once per year at a minimum or more often, as appropriate). Meeting minutes—Take minutes and approve... Read More