Legal Help Desk

Exclusive Member Benefit

Below-market-rate legal support is now available to all members of the Minnesota Council on Foundations via the Foundation Legal Help Desk. The Help Desk is operated by our colleagues at the Indiana Philanthropy Alliance and made available to MCF members through MCF’s membership association, the United Philanthropy Forum (formerly the Forum of Regional Associations of Grantmakers).

The Help Desk provides foundations with answers to legal questions related to the operation of a foundation. The complex world of foundations requires specialized legal knowledge, and many foundations do not have easy access to an attorney with this expertise. 

How Does It Work?

The service operates through a website portal. Participants log in with a username and password and type their question. The software then sends an email to the on-call attorney for their topic area. The attorney will respond with a written answer through the portal or will make arrangements for a phone conversation.

The attorneys providing this service have 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. 

The Details

  • This service is designed to provide quick answers to questions and is limited to a maximum of one hour on any one question.
  • The attorney will advise the foundation if they think 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 but will not work directly 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. 

Service Levels and Costs







5 inquiries/year




10 inquiries/year






How to Subscribe
Contact Belinda Gray, help desk administrator,, Indiana Philanthropy Alliance, to request a registration form and subscription agreement.