Gregory Colvin is the author of Fiscal Sponsorship: 6 Ways To Do It Right now in its 3rd edition, co-authored by Stephanie Petit


Scott Ranch saved by Petaluma City Council approval

Photo of Tom Silk and Greg Colvin

Scott Ranch on a beautiful spring day.  Photo Greg Colvin

By Greg Colvin — June 20, 2022

Here in my adopted hometown of Petaluma, Calif., I’ve been involved in a 20-year controversy over the future of a beautiful piece of land two blocks from my house.

Driving out of town toward Point Reyes, the last thing you see is a group of 100-year-old red dairy barns nestled in a watershed between rolling hills with abundant wildlife, including the threatened California red-legged frog. Developer Davidon Homes purchased the old Scott Ranch in 2003 and planned to build more than 100 large homes on its 58 acres. MORE


Greg Colvin – Sonoma County, Calif.

Last year, our country faced overwhelming problems — a surging pandemic, joblessness and homelessness, racial inequities, interrupted educations, unprecedented natural disasters and so much more. Some of these have begun to resolve, but not all. 

I restarted this blog, launched in 2005, at year’s end, and I’m convinced that for solutions to our ongoing challenges, we need to look beyond the for-profit business model, existing government bureaucracies, and traditional tax-exempt nonprofit philanthropy, and opt instead for grassroots innovations like fiscal sponsorship — done right.

There’s never been a time with a greater need for people to rise up, organize themselves, imagine a better future, and assemble the resources to secure that future. One resource for new public interest projects is using the umbrella of dedicated, professional 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsors.

Projects can quickly qualify for tax-deductible donations and grants, sometimes even get started in a matter of days, not the months required to apply to and receive formal IRS approval on their own.

This site is here to help fiscal sponsors and projects considering fiscal sponsorship. It has useful tips, timely resources, alerts, news you can use from the field, archives of past posts and guest contributors.

Some posts are informed by the enormous, real-world progress of diverse, inspiring projects and sponsors. Other site contents are drawn from Study Center Press’ third edition of Fiscal Sponsorship: 6 Ways To Do It Right, which my Adler & Colvin colleague Stephanie Petit and I co-authored in 2019, completely revising and updating the 2005 second edition.

We’re gratified by the growing interest in the third edition and hope you find this blog a useful addition.

… and here’s a sampling of some more inspiring projects and sponsors



Key fundamentals

Synopsis: The Basics of Fiscal Sponsorship A summary of the evolution of “fiscal sponsorship” in 246 words by Gregory L. Colvin and Stephanie L. Petit

Fiscal Agency V. Fiscal Sponsorship Why “fiscal agency” sends the wrong message — to the public and the IRS

Summary and Chart of the Models Model progression moves from the project with the least financial independence from the sponsor to the model with the most financial independence

Deciding Whether to Form a New Nonprofit or Use a Fiscal SponsorThe pros and cons of setting up a new tax-exempt entity versus using Model A fiscal sponsorship

Project Intake Checklist At a minimum: What a fiscal sponsor needs to know about an applicant for fiscal sponsorship


Some specific tips

Transfers In and Out Guidelines for projects transferring in from another sponsor, leaving to go to another sponsor, or leaving to form its own 501(c)(3)

How Should a Model C Project Apply to a Foundation for a Grant Via Its Fiscal Sponsor? Tips for projects and funders about proper documentation

Fiscal Sponsorship (Model C) Letter to Vendors Letter clarifies sponsor-project relationship regarding payment responsibility



Fiscal Sponsor Directory Looking for a fiscal sponsor? This growing central repository of useful data on practicing sponsors nationwide was created and is maintained by San Francisco Study Center, publisher of Fiscal Sponsorship: 6 Ways To Do It Right. The site also includes a chronology of pertinent legal rulings and important events and developments in fiscal sponsorship, and news from the field.

Fiscal Sponsor Conversations Weekly 1-hour Zoom forum connects fiscal sponsors nationwide and offers practical large-group discussions, small-group breakouts and expert guest speakers. Free, with registration, to all fiscal sponsor practitioners.

Fiscal Sponsor Hub  Online community combines a venue where fiscal sponsors can share topics and questions, general to specific, documents, referrals and other resources. Free and associate memberships available.

National Network of Fiscal Sponsors A professional network of organizations and individuals working in the field that convenes events for sharing peer knowledge, advocates for the field, and develops best- and next-practices to advance fiscal sponsorship for the public benefit.

Foundation Center Online and GuideStar merged in 2019 under Candid, a search engine for finding information about foundations and the grants they make, nonprofit profiles and related topics.

Adler & Colvin blog


New to Fiscal Sponsorship?



… simply the best resource one could want.”

Drummond Pike, Tides Foundation founder


… continues to promote responsible practices and reflects the ever changing landscape of fiscal sponsorship.”

Ruth Williams, Community Initiatives President and CEO

Cover of the 3rd edition of Fiscal Sponsorship: 6 Ways To Do It Right

NOTE: The Third edition of Fiscal Sponsorship: 6 Ways To Do It Right is NOT available on Amazon. It is available only from Study Center Press at