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IRS Investigates Community Foundations
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IRS Investigates Community Foundations

Community Foundations Compliance Project – The IRS Exempt Organizations Services Department is conducting a project to determine if community foundations are complying with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Community foundations began as groups of small charitable trusts established at local banks or trust companies to benefit community residents. However, over the last decade, there has been a significant increase in the number, size, and complexity of community foundations.  This compliance project will provide the IRS information on how these organizations operate and allow us to follow up on organizations that may have compliance issues.

A community foundation is a public charity that conducts grant making activities that often but not always benefit local charities and charitable community projects.   Generally, community foundations do not operate their own programs.


National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations
National Standards were developed in 2000 by a group of community foundation practitioners to serve as a roadmap for legal, ethical, and effective practices within a philanthropic environment increasingly affected by technology, competition for donors, and political and media scrutiny. These standards were approved and adopted by the Community Foundations Leadership Team in late 2000. Community Foundations are invited to adopt the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations and join a growing and dynamic movement to strengthen the effectiveness of the community foundation field.

Additional information:

Community Foundations Questionnaire

Community Foundations (continuing professional education text – general background information about community foundations)

Pub. 4221-PC, Compliance Guide for 501(c)(3) Public Charities

Pub. 4221-PF, Compliance Guide for 501(c)(3) Private Foundations

Compliance Initiatives/Projects

DISCLAIMER: This information is not intended to provide legal or accounting advice, or to address specific situations. Please consult with your legal or tax advisor to supplement and verify what you learn here.