Bush Foundation Report

This foundation transformed one of its programs into an independent entity to give it greater longevity and impact. Would a spin-off benefit your organization?


Bush Foundation Spins Off an Independent 501(c)(3): Here’s How They Did It

  • 2/20/2018

What started as an opportunity for an established foundation to have a greater impact in a wider community evolved into a fully independent 501(c)(3) organization. For the Bush Foundation it was a journey of discovery that is now documented in a case study, Lessons From the Process of Creating the Native Governance Center.

Download the case study.

Two CLA nonprofit professionals, Ben Aase and Kelsey Vatsaas, played an important role in the complex process that made the Native Governance Center a reality. Tracing the development of the center over the course of two years, the case study — a joint effort of CLA and the Bush Foundation, a long-time client — begins with the foundation’s work supporting the self-determination of Native Nations. The narrative continues through the emergence of a fully independent, Native-led nonprofit organization whose mission is to assist Native Nations in strengthening their systems of governance and their capacities to exercise their sovereignty.

“Every scenario is going to be different, but we believe the Native Governance Center is an excellent example of how patience, deep engagement, careful planning, and teamwork can produce tremendous results for organizations considering a spin-off program,” says Aase, a CLA principal. “Our hope is that by reflecting on our experience and sharing it with others, we can help other groups that may be interested in pursuing a similar path.”

Learn about setting up a philanthropic spin-off.

Included in the case study:

  • How the foundation approached the opportunity
  • Analysis of the organizational environment
  • Setting the strategy and choosing an organizational model
  • Financing considerations and leadership building
  • Building a business plan
  • Legal timelines and issues
  • People and operations
  • Lessons learned along the way

How we can help

Our nonprofit industry professionals offer the broad experience you need to strengthen and guide your organization from start-up through growth and maturity. From finance and governance to entity selection, and taxation, we help you look beyond the standards and regulations to your broader mission.

Download the Case Study