Lawyers rarely tell foundation managers, "Relax, don’t worry so much!" But in the case of "tipping," that’s been our advice for more than 10 years. What is the so-called "tipping problem" and why are so many foundations (still) so worried about it?
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.
Below is everything on our site for corporate giving programs and foundations. You can use the filtering options on the right to narrow these results.
Good relationships between grantmakers and grantees promote more effective philanthropy. But there's nothing that can mess up a good partnership faster than an overzealous lawyer. In seeking to protect their foundation clients, lawyers can sometimes impose excessive requirements on grantees, forcing them to spend unnecessary time and money. While grantmakers should always pay attention to their lawyers' advice, here are some legal recommendations you might want to question.
Requiring grantees to "re-certify" tax-exempt status
After September 11, 2001, many grantmakers and other charitable organizations that were not previously familiar with the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), learned of its existence. As one of the key U.S. government agencies seeking to shut down terrorism funding around the world, OFAC has focused attention on charities as one mechanism for providing financial support to terrorists. As a result, grantmakers and others have dedicated more time and effort to OFAC compliance.
In an effort to ensure that charitable resources are used exclusively for charitable purposes and not used to support terrorist activity, organizations may choose to adopt practices in addition to those explicitly required by law. Among the practices that some charities choose to adopt is including language in their grant agreements requiring grantees to certify that they do not and will not knowingly provide material support to any individual or entity furthering terrorist activities.
Can we back out of a multiyear commitment we made in a prior year because our foundation’s assets have declined?
The answer in many cases is “no.” That is, unless your grantee is willing to release your foundation from its obligation.
Generally, an unconditional, multiyear grant is considered a pledge to the grantee organization. In many states, a pledge is a legally binding obligation. Therefore, your grantee could seek to take you to court should you stop paying the grant.
Question: May a private corporate foundation or corporate giving program make a grant to a newly-established charity that has not yet received its IRS tax exemption letter?
Answer: Yes, but when making a grant to a charity whose application for exempt status is pending before the IRS, a private corporate foundation must exercise expenditure responsibility. Corporate giving programs must be aware that the charitable deduction for the grant will be disallowed if the charity does not subsequently receive retroactive recognition of its tax exempt status from the IRS.
Generally, there is no legal restriction against making grants to churches, synagogues, mosques or other religious institutions. But there are some things foundations interested in such grantmaking should know.
Everything you need to know to stay out of trouble with third-party representatives.
Does hearing the sentence "Just make that grant check payable to my fiscal agent" stop you in your tracks? It should. If your potential grantees are washing your grant funds through an accommodating charity that has no control over your grant-funded activities, you should be worried.
Gifts from private foundations to field of interest funds, designated funds, and other funds that are not donor advised, are entirely permissible and do not raise special concerns. Gifts to a donor-advised fund can raise red flags as a potential donor control issue. The law does not prohibit gifts from private foundations to donor advised funds, nor does it exclude such gifts from being treated as qualifying distributions.
When donors to scholarship funds see the impact that their money can have on the life of a student, they are often inspired to contribute more. Sometimes they will add more to the principal of the fund so that future awardees can receive bigger scholarships or more scholarships can be awarded. Where investment losses have reduced the value of the scholarship fund and the amount available to pay out, donors may wish to round up the year’s grants.