Legal Compliance

As a benefit of membership, the Council on Foundations attorneys and legal staff provide information and education to Council members regarding a variety of topics related to foundation operations and legal compliance. All information on this website, and all publications, articles, e-mail correspondence and telephone consultations provided by Council attorneys and legal staff are intended for informational purposes only and not as part of an attorney-client relationship. Council attorneys are not licensed in every state and cannot provide legal representation. The information is not a substitute for expert legal, tax or other professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances, and may not be relied upon for the purposes of avoiding any penalties that may be imposed under the Internal Revenue Code.

Expenditure responsibility is the federally mandated procedure that a private foundation—and some public charities—must follow for any grant made to an organization that is not a public charity. This chapter of Mastering Foundation Law: The Council on Foundations Compendium of Legal Resources focuses on the steps of expenditure responsibility when granting to non 501(c)(3) organizations.

Many people want to start foundations, but few start out knowing exactly what sort of organization they are going to create. The purpose of this chapter of Mastering Foundation Law: The Council on Foundations Compendium of Legal Resources is to help potential donors understand the many different entities that are commonly referred to as foundations and to provide an understanding of the legal framework necessary to establish a foundation.

Mastering Foundation Law: The Council on Foundations Compendium of Legal Resources is a comprehensive guide to foundation law for the non-lawyer. It is easy to use, self-directed, and regularly updated. Once completed, the Compendium will be comprised of around 40 chapters covering all aspects of foundation law, from creating a charitable foundation and grantmaking basics to self-dealing and planned giving.

On February 19, 2016, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service issued proposed regulations regarding the prohibition on certain contributions to Type I and Type III supporting organizations and the requirements for Type III supporting organizations. The Council is leading the foundation field’s review and analysis of the proposed regulations. Please share with us (email: katherine.labeau@cof.org) how supporting organizations are valuable to your foundation. Your input will be reflected in our analysis and in the comments we submit to the Treasury Department.

Before you engage with policymakers, it is important to have a solid understanding of the legal rules that apply. This webinar covers the fundamentals of how, when, and to what extent different types of foundations can engage with policymakers, their staff, or candidates running for public office. Through dynamic hypotheticals, speakers discuss what advocacy activity you as a foundation can do, what your staff can do, and what your grantees may do with your support.