Corporate Giving Programs and Foundations

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.

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.

Question: Are corporate foundations required to file electronically the 2006 Form 990 or Form 990-PF?


Can a company provide office space to the company foundation?


A parent company can always provide the company foundation with office space as long as it does so free of charge. While it is even possible for the parent company and the foundation to share the cost of office space, great care needs to be taken to structure the arrangement in a manner that does not violate the prohibition against self-dealing.


The same company representatives serve on our company foundation board of directors and our Corporate Contributions Committee. Can we hold the meetings for both programs simultaneously?


No. While it is possible to hold the meetings for the corporate giving program and company foundation board back to back, the meetings should not be held jointly. The meeting for the foundation board, for example, should adjourn before the committee meeting begins.


In light of current economy, the corporation has asked whether the company private foundation may honor grant commitments already made by the corporate giving program. Can the private foundation make these grants?


Question: May corporate grantmakers make grants to units of government such as public schools or local parks departments?

Answer: Yes, both corporate giving programs and corporate foundations may make grants to units of government as long as the grants are restricted to charitable purposes.

Question: May our corporate foundation or corporate giving program provide a grant to an organization that is not a charity?

Answer:Yes, but the process required to make a grant to a non-charity depends on the type of corporate giving vehicle used to make the grant. Private foundations must take steps to ensure that the grant is not subject to penalty taxes. Corporate giving programs may not take an income tax deduction for grants to non-charities.

Question: We are trying to decide how to structure our grants programs between our direct-giving program and our corporate foundation. Are there any general guidelines to help us?

As different as foundations can be from one another, they all share the need to know what works and, especially, what works well. The more foundations can show how their grants are making a difference, the more value they can bring to their communities.

To know what works, foundations must evaluate their grants. Evaluation has many benefits. It helps the foundation assess the quality or impact of funded programs, plan and implement new programs, make future grant decisions, and demonstrate accountability to the public trust.

Social media is an increasingly prevalent part of our world. Whether it’s on the news, sitting in traffic, or talking with colleagues, you’ll be hard-pressed to avoid mention of Facebook or Twitter. Is there a good way for your foundation to become involved?