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: 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?

Question: Our foundation has been funding a local nonprofit for the last ten years. The nonprofit has one full-time employee and an annual operating budget of about $300,000. The nonprofit recently requested a $50,000 grant for operating expenditures or it will have to close down immediately. Even if we make the grant, they may only operate for another month or so. If the foundation makes the grant but the nonprofit dissolves anyway and $20,000 of the grant remains unspent, what happens to that money? Can we fund them?

Note to the Program Officer

The scope of the program officer job description has evolved. Where it was once primarily tactical—reviewing funding requests and developing requests for proposals—the program officer’s role more commonly includes strategic activities. Program officers must master three distinct areas: (1) developing and strengthening internal networksand relationships, (2) creating the foundation/giving program’s grantmaking strategy,and (3) engaging grantees and the community.

One of the greatest challenges encountered in thinking about evaluation is that there usually is more than one acceptable way to evaluate a given grant, project, or program.

The form that an evaluation takes and the products that it yields will depend on choices made about the following issues:

Question: Our corporate foundation is planning to establish a scholarship fund for our employees' children. What do we need to keep in mind and what steps do we need to follow to ensure we are complying with the legal requirements?

Question: A potential grantee submitted to us an IRS letter of determination that expired on August 30, 2008. The grantee said that, despite the expiration date, the letter of determination is treated as the grantee's permanent ruling. Is this true?
 

Question:May a corporate foundation allow corporate board members who do not sit on the foundation’s board to designate grants from the corporate foundation?

Answer:No. All grants from the corporate foundation must be approved by the corporate foundation’s board of directors. No individual—including a corporate board member—can require the foundation to make a grant without the foundation board’s oversight and approval.

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