Expenditure Responsibility Rules for Private Foundations

For Foundations

The legal staff at the Packard Foundation, Gates Foundation, Hewlett Foundation and Moore Foundation developed this free resource, which covers the basic legal rules around expenditure responsibility. It takes less than thirty minutes to complete and features “Maya,” a program officer that helps participants through the course. Participants can also return to the training at any time for a refresher and click on the individual modules to refer back to specific topics.

*Please see our post on Technology if you are viewing the course on a mobile device or with Internet Explorer. For optimal performance, we recommend using a different browser (Chrome, Firefox, etc.) if you are having issues accessing the course.


Meghan Hanson, Attorney, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Elizabeth Peters, General Counsel

Tom Schroeder, Associate General Counsel, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

Sasha Abrams, General Counsel, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation

Mary Anne Rodgers, General Counsel

Megan Jellinek, Assistant General Counsel, David and Lucile Packard Foundation

Course Map

Module 1: When is ER Required?

  • Introduction
  • Grantees that do not require ER
  • Grantees that do require ER

Module 2: How is ER Required?

  • Introduction
  • Step 1: Pre-grant inquiry
  • Step 2: Grant agreement
  • Step 3: Separate account
  • Step 4: Reports from the grantee
  • Step 5: Reports to the IRS on the foundation’s tax return
  • Step 6: Investigation of diversions

Module 3: How to Handle Issues in ER Grants

  • Introduction
  • Grants with subgrants
  • Grants to private foundations
  • Grants for capital expenditures
  • Grants that support advocacy
  • Test your knowledge on ER

Legal Disclaimer

This material is for general informational purposes only and does not represent legal advice as to any particular set of facts; nor does it represent any undertaking to keep recipients advised of any relevant legal developments. Please consult appropriate professional advisors as you deem necessary. The Foundations shall not be held responsible for any claims or losses that may arise from any errors or omissions in this document.
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