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.

This list highlights some of the ways that private foundations and public charities (including community foundations) may engage in public policy without lobbying. Public charities have further flexibility and may engage in lobbying activities not described below.

1.Direct communications with legislators or their staff about a general issue of concern. To use this lobbying exception these direct communications may not either refer to specific legislation or legislative proposal, or if specific legislation or proposal is referenced, no view may be expressed on such legislation.  

Grantmakers can legally participate in the political process by following guidelines established by the IRS. Here are some tips.

IRS response to Council inquiry regarding private foundations engaging in advocacy and lobbying.

IRS document outlining lobbying issues of tax-exempt organizations.

An overview of the laws that govern what private foundations can and can't do regarding involvement in the public policy process.

This toolkit is designed for private foundations that want to educate and encourage their grantees about getting involved in civic and policy activities to increase organizational capacity and impact. While its primary focus is on the grantmaking activity of foundations, the toolkit also addresses rules and guidance for policy involvement by foundation officials acting on behalf of their foundations.

Companies and their private foundations must carefully navigate the do’s and don’ts of contact between foundation employees and legislators.

How should the company foundation's grants and activities fit into the sponsoring company's efforts to develop strong relationships with government officials? Is it self-dealing for company lobbyists to mention the good works of the foundation? May foundation employees lobby legislators? Should foundation grantees play a role in promoting the interests of the sponsoring corporation?

Sabbaticals are not too uncommon in the nonprofit world for foundation executives or senior management. It can be a useful time to reflect on past accomplishments, revitalize, and gain renewed inspiration for future work. Sabbaticals for board members likewise can have similar positive effects but should be approached with care.

When to Think Twice

Sample conflict of interest policies for staff and board members.

Sample conflict of interest policies from the Community Foundation of Switzerland County and Triangle Community Foundation.

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