Counsel for Charitable Foundations

Within its national representation of nonprofit organizations, Venable maintains a specialized practice representing charitable foundations, many of which are among the country’s largest and most influential. This practice includes the representation of grantmaking, family, company, and community foundations.

Our practice focuses principally on the corporate, tax, and philanthropic aspects unique to foundations. We are experienced in the formation of charitable foundations and have secured tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service for hundreds of such entities. We advise our foundation clients on the unique IRS rules governing such institutions, including on the IRS excise taxes that apply to them. When necessary, Venable has represented and secured rulings on behalf of our foundation clients from both the IRS and offices of state Attorneys General. We are experienced in the special rules that apply to international grantmaking and have set up international philanthropic programs for many foundations, regardless of size. Additionally, we have been involved in the restructuring of foundations as needs and interests change over time.

We also advise charitable foundations on grantmaking and designing appropriate grant agreements to meet their needs. Many of our clients operate their own charitable programs, including scholarship programs and program-related investments.

Venable is able to bring the full panoply of legal services to its foundation clients. We often involve our employment, real estate, and intellectual property lawyers – among many others – in this representation. Our regulatory lawyers have helped a number of foundations weave through the complex rules, on both a federal and state level, restricting lobbying and political activity by such foundations.

Our experience in representing a large number of foundations enables us to advise our clients on industry trends and best practices. Venable’s attorneys regularly speak and write on current topics of interest to foundations, including new developments in the field. Our goal is to help ensure that our clients operate in a manner consistent with the law as it evolves and, at the same time, avoid reputational and other non-legal risks.