What is a private operating foundation?
Corporate Philanthropy refers to the investments and activities a company voluntarily undertakes to responsibly manage and account for its impact on society. It includes investments of money, donations of products, in-kind services and technical assistance, employee volunteerism, and other business transactions to advance a social cause, issue, or the work of a nonprofit organization. Corporate foundations and corporate giving programs traditionally play a major role in these areas.
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Question: Our private foundation received a proposal for a general support grant from a public charity. The proposed grant meets our guidelines and is within our charitable mission; however, we know the charity engages in lobbying. Can we make a grant to this charity?
Answer: Yes, as long as the grant is not earmarked for the grantee’s lobbying activity. Earmarking is a written or oral understanding that funds will be used for a particular purpose.
Question: May a private company foundation support the volunteer activities of the sponsoring corporation's employees?
Answer: Company foundations sometimes play a role in coordinating volunteer activities of the sponsoring corporation's employees. The IRS has approved company foundations' involvement in these activities. However, a foundation must ensure that it does not make any payments in connection with the volunteer programs that will provide more than incidental or tenuous benefit to the corporation.
Question: If our corporate foundation accepts contributions from employees should we provide the contributors with receipts?
A foundation's strategic plan describes its long-term goals and objectives, and how the organization will work to fulfill them. Like any management tool, a strategic plan—with a process to develop that plan—helps an organization improve its work. Specifically, a strategic plan focuses the board's energy, articulates explicit goals for the board and staff to work toward, and adjusts the organization's direction, if necessary, in response to a changing community.
A good strategic plan will:
Our company foundation sometimes carries out its own charitable programs. For example, last year we organized a conference on the topic of evaluating program impact for our grantees and other nonprofits in one of our communities. Where does this information get reported on our Form 990-PF?
Question: Our staff just received a request for a copy of our foundation's Form 990-PF. Are we required to provide this information?
The Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA) increased the excise tax rates for violations of many of the private foundation rules. In most cases, the first tier taxes were doubled. These changes are effective for private foundations upon the foundation’s first tax year beginning after August 17, 2006. For private foundations with calendar tax years, this translates into an effective date of January 1, 2007. Below is a review of the changes to the first tier taxes:
Many foundations may be uncertain about what’s involved when it comes to succession planning. Some wonder why they should worry about the future at all when they have so much work to do in managing their grantmaking, community leadership and development, and administrative duties.
Succession planning is more than just replacing a CEO. It’s an opportunity to evaluate what works at your foundation—and identify areas in which you can improve. It can give both the board and staff a clear picture of long-term goals, and help you set priorities and make decisions.
Question: Why do Council on Foundations membership materials and invoices state that if my foundation and corporate giving program share a membership, dues must be paid by the corporation? Is this true for other memberships as well?
Answer: IRS self-dealing rules prohibit private foundations (including company foundations) from entering into a range of financial transactions with disqualified persons, including transactions that provide a tangible economic benefit to a disqualified person.