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. If you don’t have a sister Foundation, someone may suggest finding a fiscal agent to help funnel grant money. Doing so requires entering the relationship with a thorough understanding of the relations.
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:
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:
Here are links to some women’s bar foundations:
District of Columbia