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Topical Resource Lists for Grantmakers

Trustee Compensation: A Topical Resource List

The following resources discuss compensation for trustees serving on the boards of foundations.

Association of Small Foundations.Foundation Operations and Management Report. Washington, DC: Association of Small Foundations, 2011.
The annual survey of members of the Association of Small Foundations provides benchmarking information on assets, boards, investments, expenses, grantmaking, staffing, and compensation.

Beggs, Sara. Trustee Compensation for Small Foundations. Washington, DC: Association of Small Foundations, 2005. (Primer Series).
The guide helps boards develop compensation policies for routine board service. Chapters discuss laws governing trustee compensation, conflict of interest issues, appropriate compensation levels, among other topics.

"Considering Trustee Compensation." Essentials (Spring 2011): p. 5-8.
Article examines trustee compensation, noting that 30% of Association of Small Foundations members compensate trustees for routine board services, such as attending meetings, reviewing proposals, and setting policies. Looks at federal and state laws on compensation, and the advantages and disadvantages of the practice. Also gives advice on determining rates, creating a policy, and compensating for professional services.

Council on Foundations. Board Composition & Compensation. 2010 ed. Washington, DC: Council on Foundations, [2010].
Survey findings on independent and family, community, and public foundations' board composition (age, gender, race/ethnicity, donor family membership) and compensation (including fees and benefits/deferred compensation).

Chiu, Lisa. "Most of America's 50 Richest Funds Compensate Their Board Members". Chronicle of Philanthropy, vol. 23 (28 July 2011): p. 1, 11-2.
Discusses the increasingly controversial practice among foundations of paying their board members. Among the 50 wealthiest funders examined, 38 of them compensate their board members, and some lawmakers have begun to take steps toward banning the practice.

Schambra, William A. "Board Compensation: To Pay, or Not to Pay". Philanthropy Vol. 22 (January-February 2008): p. 26-31.
Explores the debate over compensation for foundation board members.

What Drives Foundation Expenses and Compensation? Results of a Three-Year Study. Washington, DC: Urban Institute, 2008.
Presents final results from the Foundation Expenses and Compensation Project, which analyzed data from the 10,000 largest U.S. grantmaking foundations from 2001 to 2003. The study notes that staffing is a significant factor in charitable administrative expenditures. Issued by the Urban Institute, Foundation Center, and GuideStar, the report expands on findings from an earlier study, "Foundations Expenses and Compensation: How Operating Characteristics Influence Spending." Available online

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