Foundation Legal Help Desk

The Foundation Legal Help Desk is designed to provide foundations with access to answers to legal questions related the operation of a foundation. The foundation world is a complex field that requires specialized legal knowledge and many foundations do not have easy access to an attorney with expertise in this field.  The Help Desk is operated by the Indiana Philanthropy Alliance and subscribers include 33 foundations from 15 different states.

How Does it Work?

The service operates through a website. Participants log in with a username and password and type in their question. The software will send it to the attorney “on-call” for their topic area. The attorney will respond either with a written answer or will make arrangements for a phone conversation.

The attorneys providing this service have specialized knowledge in grantmaking, scholarships, fund management, planned giving, nonprofit law, the Pension Protection Act, UPMIFA and other laws that specifically affect the operations of a foundation. 

The Details

  • This service is designed to provide brief answers to questions and is limited to a maximum of one hour on any one question.  The attorney will be able to advise the foundation if they need to engage counsel to assist them with a complex legal issue or gift. 
  • The attorney will engage directly with foundation staff or board members, and will not work independently with donors or professional advisors. 
  • The attorney can review documents but will not prepare any documents.
  • This service is for legal questions that relate to the operation of a foundation, not legal issues facing a foundation’s grantees.
  • The Foundation Legal Help Desk reserves the right to decline a request that is clearly beyond the scope of a one-hour engagement.
  • Our goal is to respond within 24 hours (Monday-Friday during the business week); attorneys are not available on an immediate basis.

Foundations will contact IPA directly to subscribe to the service, and IPA will provide them with a subscription agreement. Once they send the agreement back to IPA with their payment, IPA will provide them with their login credentials.

Service Levels and Costs

  Cost Service
Entry $1,000 5 inquiries/year
Basic $1,700 10 inquiries/year
Premium $2,500 Unlimited


How to Subscribe

Contact Belinda Gray, Help Desk Administrator,, to request a registration form and subscription agreement.