Disaster Assistance and Emergency Hardship Funds: Charitable Assistance for Individuals and Communities

A Chapter in Mastering Foundation Law:
The Council on Foundations Compendium of Legal Resources

Overview of the Law Governing Community Foundations CoverThe Council on Foundations has long been involved in helping foundations and funders navigate grantmaking in times of disaster and hardship. We have published various materials over the years related to this subject. This Compendium chapter, however, is our attempt to put everything together in an updated resource with the latest information and guidance. We will address disaster assistance in response to natural disasters, as well as emergency hardship assistance for more personal tragedies and man-made events including mass shootings. We will also discuss assistance to specific groups such as employees of a particular employer. We will outline the specific IRS rules that must be followed, but also discuss where there are gaps and unanswered questions. Finally, we will highlight some unique approaches designed to help victims of tragedy.

The target audience for this chapter includes private foundations, community foundations, company foundations, and direct corporate-giving programs. Although this book occasionally references the individual donor and the laws that affect that donor, we do not make an effort to provide a comprehensive analysis of the rules for individual giving.

The chapter is organized as follows:

THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK FOR U.S. CHARITIES

PART ONE reviews the legal framework applicable to U.S. charities including a discussion of charitable purpose and how disaster assistance and emergency hardship funding can fit within that purpose.

PUBLIC CHARITIES PROVIDING DISASTER RELIEF AND EMERGENCY HARDSHIP ASSISTANCE

PART TWO examines public charities, including community foundations, and discusses how these organizations can provide assistance to communities and individuals. 

SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR PRIVATE FOUNDATIONS

PART THREE reviews specific rules for private foundations making grants to other charities and individuals. 

CORPORATE PHILANTHROPY AND DISASTER RELIEF/EMERGENCY HARDSHIP ASSISTANCE

PART FOUR discusses issues important to corporate philanthropy, including assistance to employees of individual employers.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS ASSOCIATED WITH MAN-MADE DISASTERS

PART FIVE examines recent man-made disasters including several mass shootings, and discuss new approaches to help victims and the communities affected.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES AND EXAMPLES

PART SIX concludes with a list of resources that will be helpful to funders including some sample documents.


Accessing this Chapter

As a benefit of Council membership, members can download this chapter for free. Nonmembers of the Council can purchase this chapter of the Legal Compendium in our store for $149.

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