"My husband and I are in the process of divorcing. One of the more complex issues we have to consider is our family foundation which he and I set up over a decade ago to support local charitable causes. We want to protect the foundation as much as possible during the separation process and ensure it can continue to deliver on its objectives in the long term once we are officially separated. I intend to continue my work with the foundation following our divorce, while my husband has suggested it would be best if he were to step back. Does this sound like a sensible approach and what advice do you have for us?"
Russell-Cooke charity and philanthropy partner Pippa Garland answers a reader's question in the Financial Times and confirms that it's good that they have set up the family foundation as a separate charity, which will have given them the best chance of protecting the foundation during their separation process.
She discusses how in her experience, even with the best of intentions, governance of a family foundation following a separation can be difficult. Although the assets are protected, the foundation’s operations could become hamstrung if there are conflicts on the board. This can also cause significant issues for other “neutral” (or even “non-neutral”) trustees on the board. She emphasises that working together amicably now to agree a plan for the family foundation is most likely to protect its future work.
Pippa’s full answer to How can we best run a family foundation after our marriage ends? is available on the Financial Times website via subscription.
Pippa is a partner in the charity and social business team. She advises charities, social enterprises and other not-for-profit organisations on all aspects of charity law. Pippa combines a strong general practice advising on governance, fundraising and trading, mergers and grant making (including overseas), with a particular expertise in philanthropy, where she advises both individuals and businesses on their giving. She has helped establish a number of family and corporate foundations.