What Story Does Your Form 990-PF Tell About Your Foundation?

Have you read your institution’s 990-PF lately? Have you ever stopped to think what headlines it might inspire? In recent years, the IRS has been releasing forms 990 and 990-PF as machine-readable, open data. Because the data is now not only open, but digital and machine-readable this means that anyone from journalists to researchers to activists can aggregate this data and make comparisons, correlations, and judgments about philanthropy at lightning speed, all without your input. Investment practices, the intended purpose and beneficiaries of your grantmaking, and compensation practices are examples of 990 data that can get easily turned into compelling narratives about your foundation. This has implications for foundations institution-wide, from governance practices to grants data and from staffing to investment management and communications strategy.

Attend this webinar to learn about sections of the Form 990-PF that present potential risks and vulnerabilities, as well as opportunities to better share your institution’s work. You will also learn how to turn an examination of your 990-PF into an opportunity for improving internal practice, policy, and how these are communicated.

Topics covered include:

  • How open, machine-readable data works and what it means for philanthropy

  • Current efforts by the IRS to make your 990-PF data both free and open

  • Highlights of the most commonly used data from your 990-PF

  • How to analyze the story your current 990-PF tells about your foundation

  • Recommendations for better communicating your foundation’s work through the 990-PF

*Please note that this session focuses only on the 990-PF, and is specifically designed for staff and board members affiliated with private foundations. Since we will look at the 990-PF as a communications tool, communications staff, foundation CEOs, board members, and grants data management teams will find it most helpful. While not a “how-to” in completing the 990-PF correctly, this session will aid finance staff in determining how best to engage other departments and team members in the process.