Third Annual National Foundation Conference

Third Annual National Foundation Conference

Please join us in Las Vegas for our Third Annual National Foundation Conference, February 18 – 20, 2015. Financial and operations executives from across the country will participate in three days of interactive discussions on topics ranging from mission investing to IRS updates. Confirmed sessions are detailed below; watch for more to come.

We look forward to seeing you in Las Vegas!

Register Online

Conference Information
Date: February 18 – 20, 2015

Green Valley Ranch
2300 Paseo Verde Parkway
Las Vegas, NV 89052
Reserve a room 
Special room rate only available until 1/25/15.

Registration: $475
Register online by Wednesday, February 11.
Cost includes breakfast and lunch all three days, an evening reception on Wednesday, materials and CPE requirements.
Contact: Shana Vachhani
or 612-397-3049

Session descriptions

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

8 – 9 a.m. – Registration
9 – 9:20 a.m. – Opening remarks

Keynote Address

9:20 – 10:30 a.m.
Speaker: David Williams, President and Chief Executive Officer, Make-A-Wish
As president and chief executive officer, David Williams leads the national staff and 61 chapters of Make-A-Wish® in its simple, heartfelt mission: granting the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. Since 1980, the world’s largest wish-granting organization has granted the wishes of more than 250,000 children in the United States. Williams joined the Foundation in January 2005. Under his leadership, the national office annual revenue has more than doubled since 2004 to $80 million, distributions to chapters have quadrupled to $48 million, and overall revenue including chapters has increased by over $100 million to $260 million.

10:30 – 10:40 a.m. – Break

Charitable Remainder Trusts — They’re Back!

10:40 – 11:30 a.m.
Speaker: Tom Pauloski, Bernstein Global Wealth Management
CPE: 1 hour specialized knowledge and applications

This discussion will center on the modern uses of charitable remainder trusts (CRTs) and why they are so compelling from a financial and estate-planning standpoint. Scott will share how CRTs are used with common assets like publicly traded stocks, as well as more difficult assets like artwork, IRAs, and real property, and what CRT structures to consider in each situation.

11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. – Lunch and Open Space Discussion

1:30 – 1:40 p.m. – Break

Tackling Wicked Problems: Why Social Innovation and the Blurring of the Sectors are Changing American Charity

1:40 – 2:30 p.m.
Speaker: Jeff Snell, PhD, Founder and CEO of Midwest Social Innovation LLC and the Midwest Consortium for Social Innovation
CPE: 1 hour Specialized Knowledge and Applications

Is it possible to actually solve wicked social problems instead of managing them? This session will explore the field of Social Innovation as a “blurring of the sectors” and provide examples of social entrepreneurship models – a departure from conventional charity. Participants will learn nomenclature and frameworks in social entrepreneurship; characteristics of successful models; and why creating and measuring social value is critical to the future of American philanthropy.

Understanding Nonprofit Financial Statements — the Nonprofit Perspective 

2:30 – 3:20 p.m.
Speaker: Susan Dorsey, Chief Financial Officer, Water For People
CPE: 1 hour finance

Having trouble reviewing your grantee’s financial statements to determine if they are spending funds appropriately? What about trying to understand their overall successes or failures as an organization when deciding whether to approve a grant? Have you used overhead metrics as a deciding factor? Hear directly from a nonprofit about why overhead isn’t the most appropriate way to understand how effectively funds are being spent, and suggestions for your how your funding can help them further their missions within their own measures.

3:20 – 3:30 p.m. – Break  

Scanning the Political Horizon

3:30 – 4:20 p.m.
Speaker: Joanne Florino, Senior Vice President, The Philanthropy Roundtable
CPE: 1 hour taxes

This session will include an update on federal tax reform and other issues that might directly or indirectly affect the nonprofit sector. Specific federal issues include the charitable deduction, private foundation excise tax, donor-advised funds, and unrelated business income tax. We will also look at state legislative action regarding tax reform and the treatment of charitable giving incentives, taxes/fees, and tax exemption. Finally, we will discuss philanthropy’s critics and the threats they pose to philanthropic freedom.

Evaluating Foundation Investment Policies, Performance and Advisors

4:20 – 5:10 p.m.
Speaker: John Langan, Principal and Chief Industry Officer, Public Sector Group, CliftonLarsonAllen, and Mark Griffin, CIMA, Managing Principal, Institutional Investment Services, CliftonLarsonAllen Wealth Advisors, LLC
CPE: 1 hour management advisory services

A foundation’s ability to meet its mission is directly tied to the policies, performance, management, and governance surrounding its investments. Ensuring that each of these elements is aligned with your exempt purpose and represents industry best practices is a fiduciary responsibility for foundation managers and their boards. This session will explore essential investment and spending policies, performance targets, and reporting and evaluating investment managers and advisors through a robust RFP process.

5:30 – 7 p.m. – Dinner Reception

Thursday, February 19, 2015

7:30 – 8:30 a.m. – Continental breakfast

My Big, Fat Nonprofit Wedding — What Your Foundation Needs to Know About Funding Nonprofit Collaborations

8:30 – 9:20 a.m.
Speaker: Laura N. Solomon, Esq., Founder of Laura Solomon Esq. & Associates
CPE: 1 hour specialized knowledge and applications

Nonprofit affiliations have increased exponentially as organizations collaborate, enter into joint ventures, and in some cases merge, in furtherance of their charitable missions. Some affiliations are triggered by financial necessity or leadership changes. Others are driven by foundations and community foundations in the name of efficiency or capacity building. Should you be funding these collaborations? This session will update you on nonprofit mergers and acquisitions, with an overview of trends and resources in the national and regional nonprofit sector; illustrate the different forms and pros, and cons of each; highlight some of the tax and legal considerations, including regulatory oversight; and help you decide whether and how to fund collaborations.

Media Blitz — How to Tell Your Story Effectively

9:20 – 9:40 a.m.
Speaker: Doug Kotlove, Division Marketing Director, CliftonLarsonAllen
CPE: 1 hour communication

An interview with a reporter doesn’t have to be a frightening experience. In fact, any discussion with a journalist, television reporter, or social media outlet should be an opportunity to get your foundation’s messages distributed to a broader audience. But to do that effectively, you need a strategy going into the interview and you need to be aware of danger spots to avoid. In this session, a former reporter will conduct a mock interview with a conference attendee and then write a story based on that discussion. Later, that story will be distributed to the full group, to understand what worked well during the interview and where there were opportunities for the interview subject to take more control of the discussion.

CLA’s Wide World of Charitable Planning

9:40 – 10:30 a.m.
Speakers: Dominic Zamora, JD, CPA, Regional Managing Principal, and Sue Clark, Principal, CliftonLarsonAllen
CPE: 1 hour specialized knowledge and applications

Private and public foundations are finding tremendous opportunities as donors plan for the transfer of their wealth, but increased income tax rates and the significantly higher estate tax exclusion are having an impact on charitable planning. Hear from two CLA estate planners about their work with donors to develop impactful estate and charitable planning strategies using charitable trusts.

10:30 – 10:40 a.m. – Break  

Navigating the Social Network

10:40 – 11:30 a.m.
Speaker: Tane Danger, The Theater of Public Policy
CPE: 1 hour communication

Social media is an ever-evolving tool that, when used properly, can open doors to new funders and donors around the world. Tane Danger has been on the front lines of the social media surge as a social media manager for an international nonprofit. In this session, Tane will discuss how to lead a successful social media campaign and avoid common pitfalls that occur in this world of electronic communication.

Accounting Standards Update

11:30 a.m. – 12:20 p.m.
Speaker: Cathy Clarke, Principal, CliftonLarsonAllen, and Deirdre Hodgson, Manager, CliftonLarsonAllen
CPE: 1 hour accounting

Keep abreast of the fast-paced changes in accounting. This comprehensive session will cover all the relevant guidance recently issued in the audit and accounting arenas.

12:20 – 1:30 p.m. – Lunch

Form 990-PF — An Annual Update

1:30 – 2:20 p.m. (concurrent session)
Speaker: Karen Gries, Principal, CliftonLarsonAllen
CPE: 1 hour taxes

This session will walk you through the Form 990-PF and discuss considerations as private foundations are completing the filing. This session will address the utility of the document from both a regulatory and marketing perspective, and address the complexities in the document.

Form 990 — An Annual Update

1:30 – 2:20 p.m. (concurrent session)
Speaker: David Trimner, Principal, CliftonLarsonAllen and Sarah Reichling, Manager, CliftonLarsonAllen
CPE: 1 hour taxes

This session will walk through the Form 990 and discuss various considerations as you are completing the filing. We will address the utility of the document from a regulatory and marketing perspective as well as addressing the complexities within various areas of the document.

2:20 – 2:30 p.m. – Break  

Revenue Recognition

2:30 – 3:20 p.m. (concurrent session)
Speaker: Harold Parsons, Principal, CliftonLarsonAllen
CPE: 1 hour accounting

This session will include an overview of the different types of revenue and the role estimates play in the accounting treatment for each. This session will help you identify the decision points in determining when and how much to record, including gray areas in the accounting standards.

The Importance of a Strong Internal Control Environment

2:30 – 3:20 p.m. (concurrent session)
Speaker: Sarah Reichling, Manager, CliftonLarsonAllen
CPE: 1 hour accounting

Does your foundation have a strong internal control environment to help mitigate the risk against errors and fraudulent activity? Learn why a strong internal control environment is important and should be considered in your foundation. At the end of this session you will be able to identify fraud risks and areas where you can strengthen internal controls.

3:20 – 3:30 p.m. – Break  

Media Blitz — How to Tell Your Story Effectively (continued)

3:30 – 4 p.m.
Speaker: Doug Kotlove, Division Marketing Director, CliftonLarsonAllen 
Based on the earlier session, a news story will be distributed to the full group to understand what worked well during the interview and where there were opportunities for the interview subject to take more control of the discussion.

The Theater of Public Policy

4 – 5:30 p.m.
What's so funny about an actuarial table? How much comedy can you find in a spreadsheet? Is there such a thing as a QuickBooks sense of humor? That's what The Theater of Public Policy is here to find out. They'll be attending conference sessions, listening to presenters, and talking with attendees to learn as much as they can about CLA's National Foundation Conference. Then they'll take the stage and attempt to turn it into improv comedy theater. That means no scripts and nothing pre-planned. A completely improvised comedy theater performance about nonprofit and foundation accounting? This you have to see...

Described by as "The Gen-Y answer to Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert," The Theater of Public Policy is an improv comedy show inspired by serious issues. Since 2011, the Minneapolis-based company has hosted conversations with newsmakers including former congressional majority leader Dick Gephardt, Minneapolis Mayors Betsy Hodges and R.T. Rybak, Minnesota Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, and many, many more. Learn more and see clips.

Friday, February 20, 2015

8:15 – 9 a.m. – Continental breakfast

Corporate Data Privacy in a Very Public World

9 – 9:50 a.m. (concurrent session)
Speaker: Kimberly Akre, CISA, CIPP/US, PCI-QSA, Engagement Director, CliftonLarsonAllen
CPE: 1 hour management advisory services

It seems our whole world is made up of data. Business runs on data. The question is, “What data do I need to keep private, and how?” This session will include discussion of data privacy definitions, regulatory requirements, proprietary business information, and data ownership. The sessions will also discuss the three key principles of data management and how to put them into practice in your organization.

What Keeps You Up at Night?

9 – 9:50 a.m. (concurrent session) 
Speaker: Karen Gries of CliftonLarsonAllen, Millie Acamovic, Vice President of Finance and Administration/CFO, Northwest Area Foundation, Pam Moret, Board Chair of the Bush Foundation and President and CEO of Brightpeak
Financial CPE: 1 hour management advisory service 
This interactive session will contain insight on both operational and governance issues and risks faced by foundations. Bring your thoughts and questions on topics such as governance, investments, and other nuts and bolts issues.

9:50 – 10:10 a.m. – Break

As a Grantmaker, What Should Our Foundation Recognize?

10:10 – 11 a.m. (concurrent session)
Speakers: Jeff Sauter, Chief Financial Officer, Arizona Community Foundation and Susan Steves Thompson, Vice President , Grants, Programs, and Services, San Antonio Area Foundation
CPE: 1 hour specialized knowledge and applications
Grantmaking efficiency and measuring impact are important to both public and private foundations — whether the organization has been in existence a few years or more than 50. In this session, we will discuss best practices that grantmakers utilize when structuring and evaluating grant applications. Topics will provide foundations with analytical and process resources they may wish to utilize in their grantmaking department and their local community: using Form 990 and other resources to normalize financial analysis; developing a common grant application to reduce the burden on the grantmaker and the applicant; and rationalizing the grantmaking process for efficiency and impact.

Measuring What Matters

10:10 – 11 a.m. (concurrent session)
Ben Aase, Principal, CliftonLarsonAllen and Kelsey Vatsaas, Manager, CliftonLarsonAllen
CPE: 1 hour management advisory services

Many nonprofits assume that the future will not look like the past, but have your reporting practices and approach kept pace? This fast-paced, interactive workshop will apply design-thinking principles to develop a holistic scorecard for your organization — a report highlighting your status, trends, and progress on many organizational fronts. Through interactive exercises, you will design the elements of a scorecard for your foundation: purpose and structure, stakeholder value propositions, and potential measures.

11:00 – 11:30 a.m. – Closing remarks

11:30 a.m. – Box lunch/conference ends


Foundations are all about people and their passion to build relationships, solve problems, and make a difference. The National Foundation Conference has plenty of opportunities for you to share your experiences and challenges and learn from others.

Open Space — Solving problems your way

You will create the agenda for this unique session that begins during lunch on Thursday. Using the Open Space format, you will have a chance to post issues throughout the morning that you are most interested in discussing further with your fellow participants. Open Space works best when issues are complex, people needed to make the solution work are diverse, people are passionate about the central issue or purpose, and when the time to act is now.

Why Open Space?

  • The issues that are most important to people will get discussed
  • The issues raised will be addressed by those who are best capable of doing something about them
  • Solutions can be developed that will connect you with others far beyond the confines of the conference

What to expect

You will be given both the right and the responsibility to maximize your own learning and contributions. We will explain the process, but you will develop the agenda, discussions, and hopefully, the solutions, with your peers.

Take a break

During meals and frequent breaks, you will have a chance to meet with colleagues, discuss some of the ideas you have heard in sessions, and network with your peers. Make connections that can make a difference in your organization’s future.

Networking reception

On the opening night of the conference, we will host an informal reception where you can relax, grab a drink, connect with friends and colleagues, and make new connections with industry leaders.