What the Open 990-PF Means to Your Foundation

Explore this series to learn about the implications of the new, open 990-PF; how this tax document is used to shape understanding of philanthropy; and its role, limitations, and potential as a communications tool.

  • Gretchen Schackel

    No Pain, No Gain: The Reality of Improving Grant Descriptions

    Gretchen Schackel, Grants Manager at the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, offers helpful tips to address the pain points of writing grant descriptions and shares why opening up its grantmaking data and the 990-PF benefits everyone.
  • Lauren Haverlock

    Is Your 990-PF Working Against You?

    With electronically filed and machine readable 990-PFs, the IRS has an even better window into foundation investments, grants, and expenses. Lauren Haverlock, a CPA, and senior manager at Moss Adams, shows how taking control of your financial story will not only help your foundation in an era of increased scrutiny, but can also build a greater understanding of the field itself.
  • Martha S. Richards

    I Thought I Knew You: Grants Data & the 990PF

    The Miller Foundation's executive director, Martha Richards, shares how the 990PF and Foundation Centers’ Foundation Maps promote data storytelling and help foundations have a better understanding of the grantees they are serving and reaching.
  • Marc Gunther

    Foundations and Endowments:
    Smart People, Dumb Choices

    Marc Gunther, a writer on nonprofits, foundations, business, and sustainability, takes a look at how and why the endowments of America’s foundations continually under-perform the market. Endowed private foundations are unaccountable to anyone other than their own trustees, but the machine readable 990 is changing all of that.
  • Marc Gunther

    Warren Buffett Has Some Excellent Advice for Foundations That They Probably Won't Take

    With a collective $800 billion in assets under management, America’s big foundations spend vast sums of money to buy investment advice and get little, if anything, of value in return. Marc Gunther asks: What if foundations took Warren Buffett's advice and invested in index funds?
  • Brad Smith

    Apocalypse Later? Philanthropy and
    Transparency in an Illiberal World

    How long will it be before nonprofit transparency takes its place alongside diceros bicornis on the endangered species list? Hopefully never, but in a world that's growing more technologically sophisticated and more illiberal, Foundation Center's president, Brad Smith, is beginning to think that if it's not Apocalypse Now, maybe it's Apocalypse Later.
  • Brad Smith

    Foundation Transparency: Game Over?

    The Internal Revenue Service's imminent release of foundation 990-PF (and 990) tax returns as machine-readable open data will literally make it possible for anyone to look right through those glass walls to the curated foundation world within. Foundation Center's president, Brad Smith, explains why this matters.