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U.S. nonprofit organizations have great legal flexibility in addressing a wide range of social needs and issues, both domestically and overseas. Under U.S. law, tax-exempt organizations are permitted to fund and deliver innovative services and cutting-edge programs around the globe, even to the extent of engaging in commercial and advocacy activities that further their mission. However, laws, cultures of giving, and nonprofit business environments differ drastically from country to country, often complicating the efforts of U.S nonprofits and foundations to work abroad.
This seminar will examine legal and organizational factors involved in funding or running effective cross-border endeavors – such as schools and job training, relief, and literacy programs – and successfully partnering with NGO’s abroad. Among the topics to be addressed are:
1) The legal role of U.S. governing boards as stewards of the organization’s mission and funds abroad;
2) the importance of mutual understanding of roles, responsibilities, and lines of authority among the U.S. organization, foreign NGOs, and individuals involved;
3) The use of grant award letters, MOU’s, or other forms of joint venture agreements, as well as a schedule of reporting requirements, in clarifying expectations and measuring accomplishments;
4) Common on-the-ground pitfalls in program implementation, including currency control and money transfer issues, employee/independent contractor matters, ensuring program oversight, and homeland security compliance and concerns.