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Traditional Foundations and Charities

Ice Miller assists private foundations, community foundations and other traditional grantmaking charities with structuring complex grants and investments that further and support the organizations' charitable missions and purposes. Grantmaking charities "invest" in the community through traditional grantmaking, investments in for-profits that further their charitable purposes (traditional program-related investments) and traditional investments. Ice Miller's work includes:
  • Corporate due diligence and tax analysis regarding investment structures;
  • Complex grant agreement drafting;
  • Program-related investment (PRI) compliance;
  • Expenditure responsibility compliance;
  • Unrelated business income tax analysis;
  • Avoidance of private foundation excise taxes, including analysis regarding self-dealing, excess business holdings, taxable expenditures and jeopardizing investments;
  • Creation of donor-advised funds and analysis regarding spending from such funds; and
  • Excess benefit transactions compliance.
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Representative Experience

Our community impact can extend well beyond our lifetime. Dedicated to perpetuating the vision of its founder, the Judd Leighton Foundation, Inc. is an independent, private grantmaking foundation in St. Joseph County, Indiana, with a focus on three primary areas—health, education and economic development.

Created in 2000, the Judd Leighton Foundation grew substantially in size with the 2005 death of its founder, Judd Leighton. Ice Miller helped the Judd Leighton Foundation make the transition to a larger foundation and continues to advise it today with respect to corporate governance and tax issues. 

Over the last several years, the Judd Leighton Foundation began to look at how it could be more strategic with its grantmaking. Of particular interest to the Judd Leighton Foundation was funding startup ventures that would promote innovation in health and/or spur economic growth in St. Joseph County. Ice Miller analyzed the tax consequences associated with funding startup ventures and provided the Judd Leighton Foundation with a roadmap of the options to accomplish the Judd Leighton Foundation's goals but also be in compliance with the private foundation excise tax rules.

In 2017, the Judd Leighton Foundation moved forward with implementing its strategic plan and made a charitable grant to the Mayo Clinic to create the Judd Leighton Foundation Benefactor Innovation Fund within Mayo Clinic Ventures to advance cardiovascular medicine. The Judd Leighton Foundation also invested directly in three startup companies in St. Joseph County that were unable to obtain traditional financing. Ice Miller assisted the Judd Leighton Foundation with structuring the investments so they qualified as program-related investments in furtherance of the Judd Leighton Foundation's tax-exempt purposes.

By structuring complex grants and program-related investments to further and support the Judd Leighton Foundation's charitable mission, we ensure Judd Leighton’s legacy and community impact continue for many years to come. 

Since 1998, Simon Youth Foundation (SYF) has taken aim at the national dropout crisis. Each year, more than 1 million students in America drop out of high school, and those students become 72% more likely to be unemployed. Yet thanks to generous supporters and an amazing network of educators, SYF has helped turn lives around. Ice Miller is proud to provide legal services to SYF as it executes its important mission to transform the lives of at-risk youth.

Simon employees founded SYF as a way to give back to the community. SYF started a nationwide community scholarship program to help graduating seniors pursue post-secondary education and partnered with local public school districts to meet students at risk of dropping out where they were – in the mall instead of in school – by creating dropout recovery academies inside Simon malls.

With annual scholarships totaling nearly $1.5 million, SYF has awarded nearly $17 million to date. Simultaneously, SYF has helped more than 16,000 students earn their high school diplomas – 35 percent of whom are the first in their families to graduate high school. In the coming years, SYF is growing its network of diploma-granting Simon Youth Academies, with a goal of launching and supporting 100 Simon Youth Academies across the country.

Students come to Simon Youth Academies for different reasons that prevent them from succeeding in a traditional high school. At 16 years old, many are the economic engine for their entire families, others suffer from trauma and mental health issues, some face chronic illness. Yet, these students still want a second chance to earn their diplomas.

SYF believes all youth, regardless of their personal circumstances, should have the opportunity to pursue their dreams through education. Ice Miller is proud to assist SYF in providing these opportunities by advising it on a wide variety of corporate, governance, tax and real estate issues. Utilizing both our nonprofit, contract and real estate expertise, Ice Miller’s legal services include: 
  • Executing on its strategic charitable initiatives and goals;
  • Creating governance and operational documents and policies;
  • Structuring and drafting complex contracts and agreements; and
  • Structuring, drafting and negotiating comprehensive memorandums of understanding that allow SYF to partner with public schools and malls to open and operate the Simon Youth Academies in furtherance of its charitable mission.
Learn more about SYF at


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