Foundation Legal Help Desk

"Some of the best dollars we spend, hands down, every year."

Wendy Banks, Chief Financial Officer, Community Foundation of Northern Colorado

Easy to access attorneys experienced with foundations

The foundation world is a complex field requiring specialized legal knowledge. Foundation Legal Help Desk connects you to attorneys with expertise in foundation operations at an affordable rate.

Service Levels

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


How to Subscribe

Contact our Help Desk Administrator at to request a registration form and subscription agreement.  

How it Works

Foundation Legal Help Desk operates through a secure web portal, allowing you to send questions to our on-call attorney. An attorney specialized in the topic area responds to you directly with a written answer or makes arrangements for a phone conversation. Details about this service are included below:

  • 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.
  • 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.

Meet Our Attorney

The attorney providing this service has 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. 

Phil Purcell, CFRE, MPA/JD
Consultant for Philanthropy, LLC
Senior Counsel for Philanthropy for the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS)
Adjunct Faculty, Indiana University Maurer School of Law and Lilly School of Philanthropy

Phil teaches courses on law and philanthropy, nonprofit and tax exempt organization law, and planned giving as adjunct faculty for the Indiana University Maurer School of Law (Bloomington) and Indiana University Lilly School of Philanthropy and Fundraising School (Indianapolis). Phil serves as a member of the Tax Exempt Organization Advisory Council for the Internal Revenue Service (Great Lakes states) and has served on the board of directors for the Partnership for Philanthropic Planning and Association of Fundraising Professionals Indiana. He is an attorney and member of the American and Indiana State Bar Associations. Phil received his B.A. degree from Wabash College and his J.D. and M.P.A. degrees from Indiana University.

Phil provides guidance on the federal law of philanthropy and tax exempt organizations including community foundation qualifications, governance, types of funds, fund agreements, planned giving (including gifts of assets), donor advised funds, scholarship programs, fiscal sponsorship, disaster relief, supporting organizations, program related investments, unrelated business income tax, lobbying and more. He is a community foundations national standards reviewer and a Certified Fundraising Executive with over twenty years of fundraising experience on behalf of all types of organizations including community foundations. Phil is a licensed attorney in Indiana. While he is not licensed in other states, and state laws can vary, he is able to provide expert guidance on the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act, Model Nonprofit Corporation Act, unincorporated associations, charitable trust law, benefit corporations, state fundraising registration, charity gaming and other applicable state laws. READ MORE.