Printer-Friendly Version

Philanthropic Advisory Services

Hemenway & Barnes offers a full range of philanthropic advisory and grant making services to private foundations, trusts, individuals, families and other entities. We have many years of experience with clients in Massachusetts and throughout New England. Our attorneys and philanthropic advisors apply our expertise in areas such as education, the arts, the environment, and health and welfare. We meet our clients’ individual needs and vision for philanthropy by tailoring solutions and applying best practices in the field.

Hemenway & Barnes currently works with 34 clients doing charitable giving through foundations, charitable trusts, and other giving vehicles, with assets totaling over $500 million. Our clients awarded almost $30 million in grants in 2020 to over 1,000 distinct organizations and individuals.

Program Design

  • Advice for individuals and families in choosing the appropriate vehicle for their charitable giving (see Tandem Use of Private Foundations and Donor Advised Funds) such as private foundations, charitable trusts, donor advised funds, pooled giving and individual gifts
  • Planning and facilitating family meetings and conversations to design multi-generational philanthropy
  • Strategic planning and program design to develop philanthropic strategies consistent with client interests
  • Succession planning for family philanthropy
  • Advice regarding foundation governance, and roles and responsibilities of foundation directors and trustees
  • Legal and financial compliance

For example, Hemenway & Barnes philanthropic advisors:

  • Facilitated a family retreat with two generations of a family to design and plan for a newly created family foundation.
  • Helped a client design and implement a climate change grant making strategy that was consistent with her other charitable giving interests.
  • Provided back office support that allowed the family trustees of a client foundation to focus on grantmaking.

Financial and Fiduciary Services

  • Stewardship of foundation assets, including investment oversight; supervision of external investment advisors; development of  investment policies in keeping with mission
  • Budgeting and financial planning consistent with foundation goals (preservation of corpus, spend-down, program-related investments)
  • Coordination of charitable giving with other activities that promote a client's broad philanthropic interests
  • Tax compliance and IRS filings

For example, Hemenway & Barnes philanthropic advisors:

  • Helped one foundation client tailor its endowment investment policy to be consistent with its environmental mission.
  • Wrote an investment policy that provided strategies for the foundation to grow its corpus while continuing to increase its grantmaking over time.

Grant Making Services

  • Solicitation of grant proposals in keeping with foundation guidelines
  • Proposal review and due diligence including site visits, legal and compliance analysis and financial review
  • Preparation of meeting materials and grant recommendations for Trustees
  • Grant analysis, monitoring and reporting to ensure successful outcomes and application of funding

Grants Management and Administration

  • Negotiation and drafting of gift agreements for cash gifts and gifts of tangible and special assets
  • Recordkeeping for all grants made
  • Back office administration for all foundation business

Hemenway & Barnes provides the “back office” capacity for a number of foundations, many of which want a one-stop-shop for all their administrative functions.

Specialized Expertise

  • Oversight of complex grants and strategies
  • Private foundation governance and compliance
  • Deep knowledge of the nonprofit community in greater Boston and northern New England
  • Multi-generational and next generation philanthropy
  • Administration of split interest trusts
  • Program Related Investments (PRI)
  • Artist endowed foundations

Representative Engagements

  • Polly Thayer Starr Charitable Trust: The Trustees of the Polly Thayer Starr Charitable Trust turned to the philanthropic advisors at Hemenway & Barnes for their expertise in grant making and in managing fine art assets for charitable benefit. The mission of the Polly Thayer Starr Trust is to promote the artistic and charitable legacy of the artist Polly Thayer Starr. Hemenway & Barnes developed the Trust’s grant making program, which supports young artists, creative partnerships between artists and the community, and scholarship about women in the arts. It also supports exhibitions and programs to educate the public about the life and art of Polly Thayer Starr and other women artists. To read more about Polly Thayer Starr please visit
  • Jane's Trust: From 2003-2021, Jane’s Trust awarded over 1,000 grants totaling more than $150 million to nonprofit organizations in greater Boston, northern New England, and Florida focused on education, environment, health and welfare, and arts and culture. Jane’s Trust was created with a finite charitable life span, and made its last grants in 2021.

Featured Clients

*All foundations marked * are currently accepting proposals. Clicking on the active links will provide you with guidelines or more information for the particular foundation.

Philanthropy Blog


Communications Policy for Hemenway & Barnes

Thank you for your interest in Hemenway & Barnes, but merely communicating with Hemenway & Barnes LLP or a Hemenway & Barnes lawyer or employee will not create a lawyer-client relationship. Such a relationship will not arise unless and until the firm agrees with you in writing to handle a particular matter. Unless and until this has occurred, you should not convey to us any information you regard as personal or confidential, because any such information will not be treated by us as confidential or subject to any confidentiality requirements.

Our website offers several opportunities for visitors to request information. We use this contact information to send users information about our firm and their selected areas of interest. We may not be able to respond to your request for a variety of reasons, but appreciate your interest in our firm.

Cookie Policy

This website uses cookies to improve functionality and performance. Click here for our privacy policy. By continuing to browse this website, you consent to the use of cookies.

I Agree