Fiscal Sponsorship FAQ

What is a fiscal sponsorship?

Fiscal sponsors are 501(c)(3) organizations that provide a home for unincorporated groups or projects that do not have tax-exempt status but have a cause or program they want to begin. Many foundations, corporations and government agencies require tax-exempt status in order to be eligible for funding. A fiscal sponsorship provides this, broadening the funding opportunities an individual or project can pursue. Management of resources through fiscal sponsorship allows groups or projects to focus on their program work while the fiscal sponsor handles financial and administrative responsibilities related to a grant award.

Why should I choose Public Interest Projects as my fiscal sponsor?

Public Interest Projects is nimble and flexible, provides competitive rates including a sliding scale of fees, and offers a quick turnaround in terms of project start-up. Public Interest Projects offers as a fiscal sponsor significant value-added skills and resources including seasoned Public Interest Projects staff and significant connections to philanthropy.  Public Interest Projects has provided fiscal sponsorship services for more than 25 years for projects that share our goal of working toward a society that ensures justice, dignity and opportunity for all people.

Who can apply to Public Interest Projects for a fiscal sponsorship?

To be eligible to apply to Public Interest Projects for fiscal sponsorship, your group or project must meet the following criteria:

  • Reflect a similar commitment to the goals set forth in Public Interest Projects’ mission.
  • The cause or work supported must be for purposes that are legal, further a legitimate tax-exempt purpose and in no way jeopardize the tax-exempt status of Public Interest Projects.
  • The project budget must be at least $100,000 with funding secured. The project may be considered for fiscal sponsorship if at least one contribution is committed, either from one individual or one foundation, for $50,000 or more.
  • The proposed budget must be an appropriate and realistic estimate and match the needs of the project.
  • The group or project must be able to raise enough funds. Funds are either already secured or likely to be secured, and appropriate sources for funding have been outlined.
  • The project is feasible and has a high likelihood of being successfully completed.
  • Proposed personnel have a track record in similar efforts and are likely to successfully complete the project.

What services does Public Interest Projects offer as a fiscal sponsor?

  • A non-profit “home” for a time-sensitive project or campaign that needs to start right away;
  • A turn-key operation that takes care of the finance, legal, human resources, and administrative details so project leaders can focus on doing the work.
  • Dedicated fiscal sponsorship staff who have both administrative and programmatic knowledge.
  • A connection to the more than 140 donors who actively participate in Public Interest Projects.
  • Assistance with donor relations
  • A network of like-minded social entrepreneurs;
  • Connections to complimentary national efforts;
  • Individualized attention;
  • Flexible and responsible administration;
  • Monthly financial reporting.

What should I expect from a fiscal sponsorship relationship with Public Interest Projects?

As a fiscal sponsor Public Interest Projects acts as an umbrella organization for an individual or project and accepts and administers funds on its behalf. Public Interest Projects is legally responsible for the funds received on behalf of fiscally sponsored projects and insures that the funds are used for charitable purposes and that the donor reporting requirements are met in a timely fashion.

Is there a 501(c)(4) vehicle for qualifying projects?

Yes. The Public Interest Projects Action Fund, Inc. is a separate entity recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(4). The same guidelines and charges apply for projects fiscally sponsored by the Public Interest Projects Action Fund.

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