Is it Self-Dealing to Give a Grant to a Specific Child’s Tuition?

A trustee wants to give a grant for their child to attend a private school. The trustee then instructs the school, a legal 501(c)(3), to apply to the foundation for a scholarship grant that will be applied to the specific child’s tuition. Is this self- dealing?

This is self-dealing. You’re absolutely prohibited from making a payment that would be earmarked for the benefit of the child. Taking it a step further, you could have a program that is a completely merit-based scholarship where you have no control over it. If, for instance, the foundation automatically provides a “free ride” for the valedictorian of a particular high school and, through no fault of yours, your child happens to be valedictorian, they are not eligible to win that scholarship. Your children, your disqualified people, and your family members are not eligible for foundation grants, ever. 

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Self-Dealing and Conflicts of Interest

This Content Collection defines conflict of interest and self-dealing in family philanthropy, and highlights the most common problem areas, including: excessive compensation, tickets to fundraising events, and overlapping board members.

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