Foundation Advocacy Grants: What Grantees Need to Know

Foundation Advocacy Grants: What Grantees Need to Know

A report from , an initiative of the , outlines the types of advocacy efforts that 501(c)(3) organizations legally can engage in and foundations can fund, including policy research, meetings with reporters, educating the public, and community organizing. According to the report,  (10 pages, PDF), 501(c)(3) organizations are not allowed support or oppose specific candidates for public office, although they can lobby — as long as "no substantial part of a charity's activities [is used for] carrying on propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation." The report also notes that public and community foundations can fund most types of advocacy work, albeit with limits on how much lobbying they can fund or engage in themselves. And while private foundations are not allowed to earmark grants for lobbying, they can fund 501(c)(3) organizations that engage in lobbying through "safe harbor" general support grants or specific project grants. The report explains what is and is not considered lobbying, offers advice on approaching foundations for funding for advocacy efforts, and provides guidance on writing compliant grant proposals and reports.

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