Key Player

Foundation Staff and Board Members

Business Issue

The leadership of a religious-based foundation contacted SVA to provide training to assist their board members in understanding each person’s role and responsibilities. Since this volunteer board was made up of people with varied backgrounds and expertise, the board members “didn’t know what they didn’t know.” The overall goal of the training was to provide alignment within the board regarding governance roles, as well as ensuring the foundation met all legal and tax reporting requirements. As foundation board members, the group wanted to be proactive to ensure they became the most effective and responsible board supporting new ideas and strategies for building their endowment.


The SVA Process

SVA customized a two-hour interactive training session where the foundation’s board of directors joined together in understanding the roles and responsibilities of current and future board members. The session was hosted by SVA Certified Public Accountants with a featured presenter from SVA Plumb Financial. What makes SVA unique is our ability to offer both audit, tax and accounting expertise, as well as wealth management advisory services in a combined approach. The training session included the following topics: Board Roles and Responsibilities, IRS Reporting, What Powers a Successful Board, Effective Board Meetings and Practices, Charitable Giving Strategies, and Investment/Grant Management. The training provided overall background information as well as opportunities for discussion related to the foundation’s specific needs.

Business Outcome

Six months after completion of the training, the foundation is excited to share their accomplishments. The board of directors has approved a document prepared by a newly formed task force that outlines the foundation’s governance structure including the roles and responsibilities of each board and committee member. The board is finalizing policies and procedures over record retention and has distributed their most recent Form 990 to all board members for review after filing. Additionally, the participants used the recommendations made during the training to develop a board reference book for current and future board members.

Gifting strategies were a big focus of the discussion especially with the new tax reform implications for potential donors. Based on SVA’s recommendations, the board has updated the website to include an expanded focus explaining gifting strategies to the foundation. Visibility of the work of the foundation has increased through articles in the newsletter, a presentation to the seniors’ group, and a special foundation focus on All Saints Sunday.

“After participating in the educational session, we have received excellent support from SVA to clarify and advise on questions that have come up since the training,” reports the foundation’s leadership.