The New Foundation Guidebook

Building a Strong Foundation

Compiled and edited by Sara Beggs, Erica C. Johnson, and Jack Thomas
Review by Jane Levy, Marin Community Foundation

2003, 86 pages. $40 nonmembers; 1 copy free with membership. Association of Small Foundations,

Do you want to start a foundation? Full of practical advice, The New Foundation Guidebook is a good place to start. This book concisely describes how to establish and operate a foundation by adapting articles from pertinent experts. It is easy to skim as essential points are highlighted with bullet points.

The book effectively argues that each part of a foundation must be carefully crafted for the organization to endure. Underscoring this argument, the book uses construction metaphors throughout. Covering tax and legal issues, the "Building to Code" chapter defines the types of foundations and briefly describes the relevant IRS tax forms and regulations. "Putting Out the Welcome Mat" explores grantmaking and includes many sample documents such as forms for grantmaking guidelines, grant applications, and site visit reports.

Other chapters are also filled with helpful ideas and suggestions. Each chapter includes case studies, questions and answers, highlighted boxes with tips, and terms to know, as well as pertinent services and networking opportunities available from the publisher, the Association of Small Foundations. The book also provides references to organizations that can be of assistance if more extensive information is required.

Two excellent recently published companion pieces are Family Foundations and the Law: What You Need to Know by John A. Edie, which outlines the basic legal responsibilities of family foundations, and Splendid Legacy: The Guide to Creating Your Family Foundation, edited by Virginia M. Esposito, which provides a more extensive picture of how to form a family foundation.