Your clients may ask you some of the following questions about working with The Denver Foundation. If you don’t see the answer you’re looking for, please submit a new question below.
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Fund advisors can make grant recommendations from their fund as often as they like. Some fund advisors choose to recommend grants weekly or quarterly, while others make grants on an annual basis.
Only fund advisors listed on the original Fund Agreement are permitted to make grant recommendations from a fund. If you would like to add additional fund advisors, such as children or grandchildren, please let us know in writing.
I understand that I can make grants from my fund to charitable organizations that are recognized by the IRS as having nonprofit 501(c)(3) status. What exactly is 501(c)(3) status?
According to the IRS, an organization described as 501(c)(3) is tax-exempt and eligible to receive tax-deductible contributions. It must be organized and operated exclusively for one or more charitable purposes including: relief of the poor, the distressed, or the underprivileged; advancement of religion; advancement of education or science; erection or maintenance of public buildings, monuments, or works; lessening the burdens of government; lessening of neighborhood tensions; elimination of prejudice and discrimination; defense of human and civil rights secured by law; and combating community deterioration and juvenile delinquency. It may not engage in lobbying or other attempts to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not be operated to benefit private interests.
Churches, schools, hospitals, and governmental units with 509(a)(1) status and public safety groups with 509(a)(4) status are also eligible for grants from donor-advised funds since both of these designations are sub-categories of 501(c)(3) status.
Is it possible to recommend a grant from my fund to an organization that has not yet obtained 501(c)(3) status?
This is not encouraged, but it is possible if the project that you wish to donate to has a fiscal sponsor who is classified as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. A grant can be issued to the fiscal sponsor if the fiscal sponsor understands that they, legally, have financial responsibility for the use of the funds. A letter from the fiscal sponsor’s Executive Director is usually required.
No. As a community foundation, The Denver Foundation may make distributions only to qualifying nonprofit organizations. Scholarships and grants made as part of achievement award programs are sometimes exceptions. Grants of this sort require a formal application and selection process. For information about scholarship or achievement award grants, please contact Karen Bellina at extension 141.
Do the guidelines for The Denver Foundation’s Community Grants Program apply to grants from my fund?
No. The guidelines for the Community Grants Program differ from guidelines for grants from donor-advised funds in many ways. First, the Community Grants Program has a set grant application process through which nonprofits submit proposals for funding. While some donor advisors have chosen to solicit grant proposals, the majority of donor-advised funds do not accept unsolicited proposals and have no application process. Second, the Community Grants Program is restricted to funding organizations that operate within the seven-county Metro Denver area. Donor-advised funds can recommend grants to nonprofit organizations located anywhere in Colorado, and across the country. Third, the Community Grants Program provides grants to faith-based organizations only for programs that provide services but do not promote religious doctrine, while donor advisors frequently make unrestricted grants to churches, synagogues, and other religious institutions. Your donor-advised fund is flexible, based on your interests and charitable goals.
Simply put, the majority of the guidelines that apply to the Foundation’s Community Grants Program do not apply to grants recommended by donor advisors. Of course, donor advisors are always welcome to fund organizations that have been thoroughly evaluated by the Foundation’s staff and been approved for funding thorough the Community Grants Program.
Can I specify exactly what I want my grant to be used for when I recommend a grant for a particular organization?
You can be as specific as you like. Simply detail your request in the ‘Purpose’ section of the Grant Recommendation Form and we will include your restrictions in the letter that is sent to the organization with their grant check.