Charitable Foundations: Staying in Good Stead

Let us help you steer clear of problems through attention to compliance and find creative solutions if issues do arise.


If you’re concerned about a past practice or an upcoming decision, or simply want to understand best practices, we can help you review the issues, address any problems and move forward with your philanthropy knowing your foundation is in full compliance. The types of questions we answer include:

  • We’d like to make an investment, but we’ve heard the foundation is subject to “excess business holdings” rules and that the investment might generate unrelated business income – could you help us assess the legal risks?
  • To accomplish our mission, we need to engage in advocacy activity – could this be lobbying that’s prohibited by section 501(c)(3)?
  • Can a donor share space and personnel with his or her foundation, and if so, on what terms?
  • How do we make grants to individuals and non-U.S. charities - do we need to get IRS approval?
  • Our accountants prepared a draft of our IRS Form 990-PF but we don’t know what we should be looking for – could you help us spot red flag issues?
  • We just received a notice that the IRS is auditing us – what do we do now?

How long has it been since your foundation had a check up?

A foundation in start-up mode has different legal needs than a foundation that has been operating for years. Our charitable foundations team will conduct a check up, assess the areas you should be focusing on in the short term and over the long term and develop an action plan to address those areas. The check up includes a meeting with our in-house philanthropic advisor who can provide feedback on your current grant making, and suggest strategies you may not have considered.