THE FBINAA CHARITABLE FOUNDATION : GIVING O Many of us enjoy supporting worthy causes and our favor- ite charities. We receive a sense of satisfaction in know- $1 million dollars or more annually and not all worthy causes achieve this goal.
ing we have helped someone or even a group of people by our generosity. Some of us also do it out of a sense of duty or get a tax write off at the end of the year. No matter what the individual reason we make donations it should be done smartly. You should know who you are giving money to and where it is going. You may personally know the group or organization you are contrib- uting to because they are connected to you in some way. What about the organizations you are not connected to? The ones that catch your eye and you think it’s a good cause but you are really not sure who they are. There are a number of steps you can take to insure your money is going to a good cause and is being used to help people. The first step is to identify that a cause is important to you and that your donations will have the impact you want them to have. Understand your philanthropic priorities; there will be or- ganizations that tug at your heartstrings by them using creative marketing techniques but are they really for you? The second step is to research the organization. Make sure the charity is a legitimate 501(c)(3) tax exempt public charity under the IRS code, this allows you to claim your donations to these charities on your tax return at the end of the year. To check this the first piece of information you will need is the organiza- tion’s federal employer identification number (FEIN). Many times, you can find this number on the organization’s website if you cannot locate it contact the charity directly and request it. Once you have their FEIN, there are a number of internet sites you can use to “check them out”. Let’s start with the govern- ment regulatory agencies (I know, but let’s start there). The first agency you want to look at is the IRS, they have a webpage that will tell you if the charity is a registered and currently in compli- ance. That website is https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/ tax-exempt-organization-search. The next group of government sites you can check is where the organization is incorporated. Again, you can find this info on their website or contact them. In many states, the agency that incorporates an organization is usually their Department of State. Find their site where you can check on the status of an incorporated organization. The results vary from state to state but the basic info you want to look for is if they are actively incorporated and in compliance. Some other info that maybe listed is their corporate structure, historical data on their reporting and maintaining their status. The next resources you can check are the charity clearing- houses, such as Guidestar, Charity Navigator, CharityWatch and the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance . A word of caution when using these sites, do not use any one site when making your decision, the more information you have the better prepared you will be to make a sound decision on where your money goes. When using these sites look at the parameters they use to rate or check a charity’s credentials and performance. For example, Charity Navigator only rates organizations that take in
Using the above tools will indicate how accountable and transparent a charity is, they should also freely discuss their business practices and financial processes. Organizations that are open about the way they conduct business and the way they manage their programs are less likely to engage in irresponsible activities. You should also talk with the charity and learn about it’s accomplishments, goals and challenges. This will give you insight into how well the organization knows where it stands and where it plans to go. Charities unwilling or unable to have this conversa- tion may not be well run and may not deserve your support. The next step in deciding where your money goes is to con- sider the way you give. You should be comfortable enough with a charity to allow them the flexibility on how best to spend your donated monies. You should have confidence in the organization as to the way they support their programs not to place restric- tions on your donation to them. The final step of this process is to follow your money. Go back to the charity in about 6 months and see how they are using your money. You’re not looking for an itemized report but more of a progress report. This will give you a sense of how responsive they are to you and clearly communicate their progress. After doing your due diligence on looking at a charity you want to sup- port, there are number of ways you can support them, visit their websites to see how. The FBI National Academy Associates Charitable Foundation, Inc. is a Virginia a Non Profit Corporation and recognized a Tax Exempt Charity under IRS Code 501(c)(3) and under Virginia statute 57-49. The Foundation provides support and relief to active mem- bers of the FBI National Academy Associates, Inc. The Founda- tion has provided financial assistance to those members or their immediate family members who have been affected by disaster, catastrophic injury, illness or life altering events. The Foundation also provides scholarships to young family members entering college. The organization has also facilitated assistance to mem- bers beyond providing funds to them such as connecting them with other organizations that can help them recover from these devastating events. The Foundation is governed by its own Board of Directors, a group of dedicated NA graduates along with members of the private sector to help guide the Foundation with their business experience. Our mission and goals are to assist NAA members in their time of need. Since we are here for the members, we need help from the members so that we can continue in this mission. As mentioned earlier, there are a number of ways you can help. The first is by making a personal donation, which you can do by continued on page 26
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