2017 Foundation Operations and Management Report

The 2017 edition of our flagship report is the premier benchmarking resource for foundations with few or no staff. Sections include data on critical areas of operations, including: Staff, Salaries & Benefits Grantmaking Boards & Governance Investments Administration

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A Date Certain: Lessons from Limited Life Foundations

This report illustrates the ways in which limited life foundations approach spending down in nine key areas, including investing, grantmaking and strategy, and communications. The results show that most leaders of limited life foundations choose to spend down because of the belief that it will lead to greater impact. And though these foundations’ leaders wrestle with a similar set of issues in their work, the interviews revealed that there is no one way to spend down.

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Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional (CNAP) Course

FMA’s Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional (CNAP) program is the only nationally recognized certification program for existing and aspiring nonprofit accounting and fiscal management professionals. The course, offered in person or online, covers practical skills that can be immediately applied to your day-to-day operations, including: Financial Reporting Internal Controls Budget Development Governance As the only licensed provider of CNAP in New York, Chicago and online FMA holds regular courses taught by instructors with extensive nonprofit financial backgrounds. LearnPhilanthropy members are entitled to a special discount of $100 off the cost of both the in-person and online CNAP programs using the code LP2020.

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Essentials of Impact Investing: A Guide for Small-Staffed Foundations

This actionable guide to impact investing will help those new to the field get started. It includes definitions, key questions to consider, resources, and case examples from small foundations across asset classes and issue areas.  

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Expert Q & A: How can grantmakers best read and analyze nonprofit financial statements?

By: Chad Gorski, Grants & Finance Coordinator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute Understand the goal of the statement analysis and consider the risk assessment needs of your organization: What part of the required due diligence process does it fulfill? How much risk is acceptable? What red flags will impact decision-making? Is a ground-up analysis necessary or can third party info be used? See Project Streamline’s guide on Grant Budgets and Financial Reports, which helps grantmakers think through what information is really needed to make a grant. The Due Diligence Done Well guide from Grantmakers for Effective Organizations is also very useful. Understand the Read more

Categories: Financial Stewardship, Ask an Expert

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Foundation Expenses and Compensation: How Operating Characteristics Influence Spending

This 2006 study documents how foundation characteristics such as giving amount, asset size and staffing, and activities such as international giving and operating a “charitable” facility or research program, affect the expense levels at the 10,000 largest independent, corporate, and community foundations.

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Foundation Grantmaking over the Economic Cycle

This 2015 brief covers a conference discussion on whether grantmaking might productively be made more countercyclical and examines changes in foundation grantmaking between 1997 and 2010, largely based on National Center for Charitable Statistics data.

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Foundation Payouts

In the first Alliance Audio series, editor Charles Keidan hosts a roundtable discussion with Angela Kail (Head of the Funder Team, New Philanthropy Capital), Cathy Pharoah (Co-Director of the Centre for Giving and Philanthropy, Cass Business School, City University London), and Jake Hayman (CEO of Ten Years’ Time) on the topic of philanthropy sector payouts. Following on from their pieces in Alliance over the last few months, these philanthropy experts and practitioners discuss the controversial topic of payouts; why they should be imposed, why they should not be imposed, and what they might mean for the sector as it stands at the Read more

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Giving While Living: The Beldon Fund Spend-Out Story

This monograph, “Giving While Living: The Beldon Fund Spend-Out Story” PDF, examines how Beldon handled the practical implications of putting the foundation on a ten-year spend-out course while seeking to accomplish an ambitious mission. Though it draws on historical materials – reports, strategy papers, financial models, written policies and external evaluations – the context and insights come from interviews with key staff members, grantees, John Hunting, and board members.  

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How to Find (or Develop) Impact Investing Deals (webinar)

This impact investing how-to guide is a must for foundations with few or no staff who want to align their investments with their mission. Walk away with a list of resources to explore with your team and grow your knowledge base on the tools available to further your mission.

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Investment 101 and Transformative Finance

This webinar explores how justice, power, and finance can work together to contribute to meaningful social change, and includes a grounding in “Investment 101” to help us all have the same language.

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Keeping Good Records: Small Foundations’ Guide to Staying Organized

Discover how to organize, archive, and protect your important documents. Includes: The costs of recordkeeping — in money and time; what to keep and for how long; advice on establishing a records management system and records retention policy; how recordkeeping can help you fulfill your mission and program; audits; what records you must share with the public.

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Lessons in Financial Management

The following article discusses how FMA and The Wallace Foundation are strengthening and improving the quality of afterschool groups in the Chicago area. Provides a snapshot of capacity-building efforts in one community. (FMA is pleased to share this article with the permission of The Chronicle of Philanthropy.)

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Financial Stewardship

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Making Change by Spending Down

This case study shares funder wisdom by highlighting more than 20 voices that support spending down. It offers numerous perspectives on the spend down that result in a detailed collective story. There’s no one right way to do or think about spending down, but sharing and listening help build a strategic approach.    

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Offshore philanthropy

Organized philanthropy exists because a few individuals are able to accumulate a vast surplus of resources. Given how much good is done with philanthropic donations, it seems ungrateful to look too closely at the source of that money. Yet recent financial data leaks, including the Panama Papers and the earlier HSBC Swiss Files, act like glasses for the myopic—they bring into focus one of the wealth management practices that enables private individuals to hold on to resources. Moreover, a number of named individuals are well-known philanthropic donors. With these revelations, the sector should look hard at the uncomfortable ways in Read more

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Program-Related Investment Rules for Private Foundations

This free (and fun) video course defines and helps the user understand the basic legal rules for program-related investments. The video guides the user through the PRI process, and discusses how these investments can support the organization’s programmatic work and/or expand the organization’s charitable work. The training features “Maya,” a program officer that helps participants through the course in a way that reflects actual experiences.

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Program-Related Investments

Why is it that private foundations spend so little of their endowment on mission investing? Is there an opportunity to make it bigger? In this paper you will find an explanation of the barriers to mission investing, also known as Program Related Investment and Mission Related Investment, and a concluding hypothesis about what it will take to help remove the barriers.

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Ramping Up Your Foundation: Key Considerations for Planning and Managing a Significant Increase in Giving

This guide is designed to help foundations thoughtfully and responsibly plan for a significant ramp up in giving and/or adjust to a sudden infusion of assets. Drawing on the experiences of a number of foundations that have undergone this transition, the primer addresses key considerations for foundation leadership in the areas of governance, staffing and operations, grantmaking and evaluation, investments, and tax and legal arenas.

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Rural Fund Development 101:Starting and Growing Rural Community Endowments

Across rural America, people are joining together to do something new and different. They are launching and growing community endowments. Community endowments resemble savings accounts that grow over time. Local residents are using the interest earned on these community endowments—and the local energy and leadership that come from building them—to improve the quality of life for people, organizations and the places they call home. This guide, Rural Fund Development 101, will help you understand the basics of community endowments and how to create one.

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Stewardship Principles for Corporate Foundations

This publication about Stewardship Principles and Practice Options to Strengthen Performance describe how corporate grantmakers can reflect these fundamental values in their governance, management and grantmaking.

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Stewardship Principles for Family Foundations

This publication about Stewardship Principles and Practice Options to Strengthen Performance describes how family foundations can reflect these fundamental values in their board governance, management and grantmaking.

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Stewardship Principles for Independent Foundations

This publication about the stewardship principles and accompanying practices describes how Independent Foundations can reflect these fundamental values in their governance, management, grantmaking, and charitable foundations.

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Who Manages the Money?: How Foundations Can Democratize Capital

A case study of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. For the past twenty-five years or more there has been a groundswell of activity among investment managers institutional investors, consultants and diversity advocates to democratize capital — that is, to create more opportunities for diverse investment professionals and the firms they lead, to manage institutional capital. This effort, grounded in both fiduciary and equity principles, has led to the growth of many diverse investment management firms like Progress Investment Management Company LLC (“Progress”) and others. A range of stakeholders now recognizes that democratization of capital brings a range of positive benefits to Read more

Categories: Beyond the Grant , Financial Stewardship

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