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FFOGHorn News: August 2017


In this August 2017 Issue, No. 219



Registration is now open for the Fall Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts, scheduled for October 17-20, 2017. The meeting will take place at The Omni Parker House Hotel, founded in 1855. The Omni Parker House is located on Boston’s Freedom Trail and is the longest continuously operated hotel in the United States.

FFOG’s program committees are working diligently to develop another great lineup of sessions and speakers with "Updating the Endowment Model" as our theme. David Salem, Managing Partner and Chief Investment Officer of Wind Horse Group, will open as the lunch speaker on Wednesday, October 18th. The results of the Compensation and Administrative Costs surveys will also be presented at the Fall Meeting.

Visit the event page to register and book your hotel.

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You may now access the benchmarking and reporting tools to create comparison groups and run predefined reports, using the 2017 compensation survey located within the FFOGBank Website here. The 2017 FFOG compensation survey has been certified by Mercer to comply with survey best practices. The FFOG compensation databank is ONLY to be used by participating FFOG foundations. You may allow your compensation consultant to access the databank for a limited time, to work with your foundation only. Please contact David Morgan at PeerFocus to set up a password for your consultant. DO NOT give your consultant a password to the FFOG website.

A webinar on how to use and navigate the results will be offered to ALL FFOG foundation staff members on September 7, 2017 at 1:00 PM EDT. Preregister here.


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The final major FFOG survey of the year, the Administrative Costs Survey, will be launched on August 2, 2017. The deadline for completion will be close of business on September 5, 2017. All members with access to the Administrative Costs Database (as determined by the primary contact at each member foundation) will receive an invitation to participate.

Please budget time to complete this important and timely survey of operating costs. As FFOG members continue to watch their operational budgets, this survey's dataset is more relevant than ever.

Survey results will be available in early October. Debbi Gillespie and Jeffry Haber, Administrative Costs Survey Co-Chairs, will present the findings at the meeting in Boston.

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By Tim Ortez

Cincinnatus remembers the Roman leader, not for ceding power, but for answering the call of service in the first place. It does so through the extraordinary life of an American hero who inspires us to action today.

This quick read can be found here.

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This month's survey is about “Non-Board Committee Members.” Non-members can bring a great amount of information and successfully augment board committees. They can also bring added complexity in terms of potential conflicts of interest - especially if compensated. Our hope here is to learn more about the extent to which non-members are used and best practices to do so effectively. (Thanks to Mike Carey at Nellie Mae Education Foundation for the survey idea and his assistance in developing the survey questions.)

There were 104 responses, of which 46 stated they didn’t utilize non-board committee members and 58 that did. There was only one statistically significant anomaly based on demographics with foundations sized greater than $250M to $500M under-utilizing non-board committee members compared to the expectation based on the whole sample. Here is the demographic breakdown:


The next question asked what committees non-board committee members serve on. The number one response by far was the investment committee. The ‘other’ category had at least six responses for grants, with philanthropy, policy, and social investments also represented.


Half of the foundations (29 of 58) utilized non-board committee members for different committees. Here is the count of foundations broken down by the number of committees that have non-board member representation (note, 7 foundations didn’t finish answering the question, reflecting 0 committees):


The survey next asked about term limits for non-board committee members. Of the 45 foundations that answered the length of term question, 21 had no term limit and the most popular (13) other answer was 3 years. Similarly, the number of terms wasn’t limited by 29 of 42 foundations with 3 terms being the most prevalent (6) other answer. Lastly, 60% of the responding foundations said the term limits were different for non-board members versus board members.

Nearly two-thirds of the 46 foundations responding to the question stated that non-board committee members are covered by D&O insurance. Regarding remuneration, roughly a third of the foundations responding don’t offer any pay to their non-board committee members. Offering a stipend was the next highest response with slightly more than 20%. Within the ‘other’ category, matching gifts or allocating grants was a popular response.

Of the 50 foundations responding to whether the non-board committee members have voting rights, 35 responded that they do and 15 that they do not. When asked about the optimal number of non-board committee members, 19 answered ‘as many as needed, but less than half the committee’ and 18 answered ‘as many as needed.’ Two-thirds of the respondents stated that charters are amended to accommodate for non-board committee membership.

To see the SurveyMonkey canned report, please click on the following link:



Thanks to those that participated in the survey this month.

Please contact Bob Bailey (, Saul Bakst (, or Tim Otto ( for feedback and/or suggestions for future survey topics.


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Longtime FFOG member Barry Schloss, Chair of the Board of Trustees and Treasurer and CFO of the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, died July 1. Barry was active in FFOG’s online discussions and was a frequent attendee of FFOG’s semi-annual meetings until his retirement from the CFO role earlier this year.

Barry was dedicated to The Weinberg Foundation’s purpose: to assist low-income and vulnerable individuals and families. For the 22 years before joining the Weinberg Foundation, Schloss was Director of Accounting and Auditing Services for Gorfine, Schiller & Gardyn, P.A., a CPA firm located in Owings Mills, Maryland. His largest client was The Weinberg Foundation. He joined the Foundation in 2005 as a trustee and Treasurer/CFO, and was named Chair of the Board in March of 2016. In his initial application for FFOG membership, Barry shared, “To be a member of the Board and Officer of the Foundation is the most fulfilling opportunity that I have ever had.”

Barry was a member of the board of The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore and the LEADERship (a program of the Greater Baltimore Committee) where he also served as treasurer.

Read the full obituary published in the Baltimore Sun. His friends at the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee published an additional notice in The New York Times.

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Collaborate: Hot Topics

W-9s- Board Members: Kristen Bechard of Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation inquired whether FFOG members obtain W-9s from board members and, if so, how often they are updated. Of seven responses, six do obtain the W-9s, and the most common response for requesting updates was as changes occur.

Annual Professional Development Limits: Debbi Gillespie of Joyce Foundation requested information on any limits placed on professional development, including days taken and cost. The nine responses received focused primarily on cost, with per-person annual budgets ranging from $3,000 to $8,000. Two responses also included information regarding tuition reimbursement, and that ranged from $2,000 to $7,500 per person annually. One response mentioned that there was no limit on PTO to accommodate time away for professional development, and two responses mentioned that professional development budgeting was (or previously had been) at the department level as opposed to per headcount.

Employment Practices Liability Coverage Limit: Eva Cheng of The John A. Hartford Foundation, Inc. inquired regarding standard amounts of employment practices liability insurance coverage. 15 responses were received. Coverage amounts ranged from $1 million to $5 million; later responders to the thread included employee headcount, and the larger coverage amounts did not always correlate with greater headcount. Deductibles ranged from $5,000 to $100,000.

New FFOG Members

Regular Member

Brad Kelsheimer,  
Chief Financial Officer
Lumina Foundation for Education, Inc.

Peter Haahr,
Chief Financial Officer
Novo Nordisk Foundation

Jason Brzoska,   
Director of Operations
Newton and Rochelle Becker Charitable Trust

Christopher Hanak,
Acting Chief Investment Officer
Group Health Community Foundation

Affiliate Members

Caitlin Adams,  
Director of Human Resources
The California Wellness Foundation

Sarah Tablan,  
Robert W. Woodruff Foundation

Upcoming Outside Event: Annual Rocky Mountain Tax Seminar                        
Submitted by Thayer Tutt of the El Pomar Foundation, please see below for information regarding the 8th Annual Rocky Mountain Tax Seminar for Private Foundations.


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This month we offer a Crossword puzzle
by Michael Blake entitled Nothing Ventured.

Click here for a PDF.

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"Six mistakes mankind keeps making century after century:
Believing that personal gain is made by crushing others;
Worrying about things that cannot be changed or corrected;
Insisting that a thing is impossible because we cannot accomplish it;
Refusing to set aside trivial preferences;
Neglecting development and refinement of the mind;
Attempting to compel others to believe and live as we do"

Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC–43 BC), Roman politician and lawyer, served as consul in the year 63 BC.

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