High-profile foundations get easy press when they launch, but the ones that don’t fade once the media spotlight fades are the ones that are well managed. However, there are services for would-be Warrren Buffets to turn to for management advice.
Foundation Source, the nation’s leading provider of outsourced support services for private foundations, handles back-office tasks that foundations don’t have the time, inclination or capacity for, says chair and chief exec Daniel Schley.
“We do the work so individuals can enjoy the philanthropy,” he says, “because we know that the best of intentions can be crushed by government regulations and IRS oversight.”
He figures about 20% of Foundation Source’s business deals with celebrities.
Schley describes Foundation Source as one-stop shopping for private foundations. “It’s like going to a brokerage firm that takes care of all your stock purchasing and selling,” he explains.
“(Clients) have ideas about how to make a difference or what problem they’d like to solve, but it’s a long path from idea to business plan to execution,” Schley says.
Its services include administration, compliance monitoring, federal and state filings and grants management.
For its services, Foundation Source charges clients a percentage of the foundation’s assets. Schley says that ends up saving clients up to 50% of the cost of back-office services based on what they would have to spend if they’d have to do it themselves.
“We’ve invested $10 million to $15 million on technology alone,” Schley says. “Some smaller foundations would never be able to do that.”
Larger foundations might need someone to point them to the right professionals. Gregory Wendt, wealth advisor based in Santa Monica, helps industry clients find the experts.
“I’m like the quarterback for my client,” he says. “I bring in the attorney and the accountant, depending on what they need.”