May 6, 2012

Phony Foundations?

Fraudulent...?  No, that’s too strong a word.  Not Genuine?  Well...let's take a closer look.

The definition of “phony” can either mean fraudulent or not genuine.  This blog series takes a closer look at foundations to see if perhaps they are saying one thing and doing another.

First, a foundation is a nonprofit that gives money to causes; typically 501(c)3’s that have a tax-exempt certification with the IRS.  Second, foundations are allowed to invest their money in profitable ventures; so long as a given percentage of their investment income is given away to charity.  Foundations cannot be used to give money to family members or friends; but many walk a fine line between philanthropy and...well, you be the judge.  Today we start with one foundation chosen at random...Amanter Philanthropy.

Amanter Philanthropy is a platform dedicated to promoting education, strengthening families and improving the lives of children.  Over a span of 12 years, the organization claims to “work hand in hand with the nonprofits they support.”

How many organizations do you think they have supported in over 12 years?
  • Under Children & Education, their website lists (4)
  • Under Health & Family, their website lists (9)
  • Under Arts & Community Outreach, their website lists (4)

The total number listed on their website indicates (17) organizations have been supported by Amanter Philanthropy since 2000.  Not included on the website is the amount of money they have given away, nor do they list the size of the Amanter Fund.  Additionally, on their contact page it states “Amanter Philanthropy does not accept unsolicited grant proposals or charitable contributions.”

What does this mean?  Supporting (17) organizations over a period of 12 years indicates that this foundation is extremely selective in causes they support and that their use of the term “Global Reach” does not have a geographical connotation.  It also means that Amanter Philanthropy does not have quantifiable performance metrics to support their work; not even a gross dollar amount of money given away.  Finally, without an active grant solicitation process readily available, it means that they are either inundated with proposals or that they are not giving away money to organizations they don’t already support. 

Most likely, the economy has diminished the performance of their fund; which means that anything given away would need to come out of the principle balance of the fund.  Or in layman's terms, since the fund is not making money, they are not giving money away.

If you have a specific foundation you would like us to review, please let us know and we will add it to our list.  Otherwise, we will continue to select foundations at random.

1 comment:

  1. Any organizations that have a responsibility to file their annual return but are unable to do so for three consecutive times are automatically deleted from the list of exempted ones. Effectively of said revocation takes place on the third annual filing's due date.