Creation, Operation and Administration of Private Foundations

Private foundations are highly regulated, but we can help you avoid the “devil” in the details.

Private foundations can accomplish amazing things, and Culhane Meadows private client attorneys have a profound respect for the philanthropic work of our clients.  We work with both new and established foundations and can help with the legal and tax issues a foundation may face at every point in its life cycle, from start-up organizational and exemption work (after considering alternatives to a new foundation) through governance changes, guidance on avoiding the self-dealing and other regulatory prohibitions, and domestic and international grant-making issues.

Culhane Meadows helps our foundation client stay in compliance with all federal and state regulatory requirements in a cost effective and practical manner.  We regularly:

  • Create and obtain tax exemption for new private foundations
  • Educate new foundation directors and trustees on the nuances of grantmaking and expenditure responsibility requirements
  • Counsel on maintaining tax-exempt status and avoiding self-dealing violations as a result of transactions with related parties
  • Counsel on avoiding excess business holdings
  • Advise on restrictions on campaigning, advocacy and lobbying
  • Structure US and international program-related investments, private equity and hedge fund investments
  • Plan to avoid jeopardizing investments
  • Counsel regarding endowment fund issues, and
  • Advise on compliance with federal and state dissolution requirements.


Our clients include both family foundations and corporate foundations of varying size.  In both cases we commonly advise on whether particular investments are permitted given the relationship of the foundation’s officers or directors to related non-charitable entities, or existing family ownership of investments.   We guide individuals in setting up foundations that will later receive large bequests, and also help foundations modify their mission when appropriate. When employee issues arise, we call on our labor and employment partners.

Culhane Meadows attorneys have decades of experience with tax-exempt foundations, together with a deep understanding of the concerns of both foundation donors and foundation grant recipients.  This often enables us to proactively help foundations  avoid issues that can otherwise be expected to occur.

*Culhane Meadows is ranked by U.S. News/Best Law Firms in Technology Law, Bankruptcy/Reorganization Law, and Information Technology Law. This website and the communications herein may be considered attorney advertising. Previous results are not a guarantee of future outcome. This website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. The information herein is not intended to create an attorney-client or similar relationship. Until you establish such a relationship and receive an engagement letter, you have not hired a Culhane Meadows attorney nor become a client of the firm. Whether you are a new or existing client of the firm, Culhane Meadows must determine that there is no conflict of interest and that it is willing and otherwise able to accept the new engagement before representing you on a new matter. Only if and after Culhane Meadows has informed you it is willing and able to accept your new matter should you send the firm any information or documents that you consider private or confidential. Such information will not be treated as private, confidential or otherwise protected from disclosure until Culhane Meadows has communicated in writing that it is willing and able to accept your new matter and provide you with legal counsel. Whether you need legal services and which lawyer or law firm you select are important decisions that should not be based on this website alone.

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