Foundations

Most women lawyers are drawn to the law at least in part by their desire to make a difference in the world by helping address unmet needs. Sooner or later, a member of your women’s bar association will come up with a great idea for a charitable project.  In order to accept tax-deductible charitable donations, an organization must be recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3). Most women’s bar associations are recognized by the IRS as not-for-profit “business leagues” under the provisions of 501(c)(6).  As a consequence, bar associations often establish charitable sister organizations to carry out or fund the projects envisioned by their members.

It is important to remember that bar foundations are separate entities, subject to their own rules and governance.   At the same time, they often share a similar name, which in the public’s eye can be confusing. The bar association and the bar foundation must work together to ensure that boundaries are respected while common goals are attained. Here is an example of relationship guidelines:

Relationship Between Women’s Bar and Foundation

Here is a link to an an article abstract outlining the basic considerations for the bar/foundation relationship:

The Bar Association/Bar Foundation Relationship: Mars, Venus and the IRSBar Leader, July/Aug 2005

A helpful resource for volunteers and staff of bar foundations is the National Conference of Bar Foundations

Here are thoughts on the importance of maintaining the right mission, focus and dedication to foundation goals:

Mission Control 

Consider whether your strategies for messaging and fundraising are meeting the needs of all your potential donors but reviewing the report at the following link.  You will need to register with blackbaud.com to read the report. The Next Generation of American Giving: The Charitable Habits of Generations Y, X, Baby Boomers, and Matures

Here are links to some women’s bar foundations:

California

California Women Lawyers Foundation

Lawyers Club of San Diego Fund for Justice

Colorado

Colorado Women’s Bar Association Foundation

District of Columbia

Women’s Bar Association of the District of Columbia Foundation

Georgia

Georgia Association for Women Lawyers Foundation

The GABWA Foundation

Hawaii

Hawaii Women’s Legal Foundation

Illinois

Women’s Bar Foundation

Massachusetts

Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts Foundation

Michigan

Women Lawyers Association of Michigan Foundation

Missouri

Association for Women Lawyers of Greater Kansas City Foundation

New York

New York Women’s Bar Association Foundation

Westchester Women’s Bar Association Foundation

Ohio

Ohio Women’s Bar Foundation

Oregon

Oregon Women Lawyers Foundation

Texas

Legal Charitable Foundation of El Paso

Washington

Washington Women Lawyers Foundation