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Inviting an Audit

As managing director of a small family foundation, I had often wondered what would happen if the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) or the state attorney general came knocking on our foundation’s door. Would we be prepared for an audit? Would the foundation be in compliance with legal and tax reporting requirements? Did our original organizational... Read More

Foundation Consultants: An Industry Overview

Consultants can be found to help foundations with every aspect of foundation management, including legal counsel, fiscal oversight, grantmaking support, board development assistance, strategic planning facilitation, program evaluation, and even complete foundation management. When it comes to types of consultants, the variety is equally broad. From independent consultants to small consulting companies, to asset management... Read More

Setting Staff Compensation

Should you choose to hire paid staff, compensation must be reasonable, and the services provided must be reasonable and necessary to carry out the private foundation’s tax-exempt purpose. Compensation even may be provided to a disqualified person (i.e., staff or board member) as long as these standards are met. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) says... Read More

Taking a Sabbatical

“People in philanthropy don’t give themselves permission to take a break,” says Exponent Philanthropy member Nancy Wiltsek, executive director of The Pottruck Family Foundation in San Francisco and trustee of The Gagarin Trust. “Everyone assumes we’re the ones with the cushy jobs. We give money away, so what do we need time off for?” Wiltsek... Read More

The Case for a Foundation Website

Not yet convinced of the value of a foundation website? Consider this: People are looking for you online—Basic information about your foundation is available online at sites like GuideStar, but without a website of your own, you miss the opportunity to share more about your foundation—and to do it quickly, clearly, and at little expense.... Read More

Your Foundation’s Brand Identity

Although your grants speak volumes about your identity, your foundation may play other roles that do just as much good—maybe even more. Maybe it’s speaking out about education issues or offering expertise in neighborhood development. How do you find your foundation’s voice? What is your identity? Some large foundations hire consultants at five- and six-figure... Read More