beyond writing a check

Writing a check

“It’s not just about being able to write a check. It’s being able to touch somebody’s life.” – Oprah Winfrey

While much attention is paid to grantmaking, the work of any foundation extends beyond writing checks for worthy causes. To fully meet its charitable goals, a foundation must maintain the vitality of all three key functions: governance, management and grantmaking.

1. governance

Sound governance strengthens the effectiveness and accountability of the foundation. Board members play a critical role in setting strategic direction.

  • Board development and continuity
  • Operating within state and federal laws and according to the corporation’s articles and bylaws
  • Stewardship of assets
  • Direction setting for charitable activities

2. management

Day-to-day foundation operations – whether managed by family members, employees or professional advisers – require a broad skill set, from risk management to regulations and human resources.

  • Regulatory compliance
  • Monitoring for self-dealing
  • Proper due diligence for grantmaking
  • Records maintenance
  • Proper financial protocols and bookkeeping practices
  • Hiring and supervising advisors and staff

3. grantmaking (charitable activities)

The heart and soul of any foundation, charitable activities encompass:

  • Grantmaking to qualified non-profit organizations
  • Education related to charitable activities
  • Networking/collaborating with stakeholders

Maintaining the health of all three domains allows a foundation to develop the institutional strength and resilience it will need to thrive over time.

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