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Model A

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Comprehensive (Model A) Fiscal Sponsorship

Below please find an overview of the Comprehensive (Model A) Fiscal Sponsorship. We are happy to discuss your program or organization’s interest to help determine which model may be best for you.

ESI’s primary focus is on Comprehensive Fiscal Sponsorship, also known as Model A Fiscal Sponsorship. In this model, the fiscally-sponsored project becomes a program of the fiscal sponsor and is a fully integrated part of the fiscal sponsor. ESI maintains all legal and fiduciary responsibility for the sponsored project, including its employees and activities.

In this model, projects are encouraged to have their own advisory committees but are governed by the ESI Board of Directors, as programs of ESI. As the legal, tax-exempt entity under which the project operates, ESI is the legal party and signatory to all contracts entered into on behalf of the project, including grant agreements.

Bottom line: ESI takes care of all of the required legal, financial, and human resource necessities allowing our projects to focus on the work they do.

How to Apply


In general, ESI provides the following to Model A projects:

  • 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status: Tax-deductibility for donations under ESI’s 501(c)(3) tax exemption
  • Acknowledgment of donations greater than $250

Built-in infrastructure

  • Payroll processing and administration of a comprehensive benefits plan for project employees
  • Banking and cash management
  • Assistance with development of annual operating budget
  • Processing of all incoming revenue
  • Annual audit and IRS Form 990 tax return (if the sponsored project is the recipient of federal funding at a level that triggers a single audit, additional fees will be assessed to the project)
  • Liability insurance

Expertise in nonprofit operations 

  • Accounting and financial reporting, including monthly operating reports and financial reporting for grants
  • Grant and contract management support

Expertise in requirements of government funds

  • Grant and contract management support of government grants and contracts
  • Public records management support, if required
  • All relevant, regular state and local governmental filings

A leadership network

  • Leaders of each project meet regularly to exchange ideas

Sponsorship Length

Model A partnerships can be long-term and indefinite, with ongoing fiduciary, administrative and governance support. Projects can also be finite in duration, while the project works on securing its 501(c)(3) tax exemption and builds capacity. Preference is for projects committed to operating as a sponsored project for at least two to three years, but we are glad to discuss your project’s specific goals.


For Model A projects, fees are assessed monthly as a percentage of the sponsored project’s revenue. The base fee is 10% of sponsored project revenue, and due to the complexity involved, an additional 5% fee is assessed on revenue from government grants and contracts. Additional fees may be assessed for services outside our normal scope.

Work with Us

We welcome the opportunity to discuss sponsorship with you to better understand the possibility and potential of working together.

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