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Foundations and Fundraising Q&A

Questions from CCFC Issues Committee

Responses from CCFC Issues Committee Legal Advisor Steve Lucas (Nielsen, Merksamer, Parrinello, Gross & Leoni, LLP)


Q. Some of the districts I'm working with want to run everything through their foundation and send a single check to CCFC Issues Committee. As I understand it that will work provided they stay within the parameters of what they are permitted to do on a percentage basis of their foundation revenues.

A. No, unfortunately that would not work, as that would turn the foundation into a political committee with its own extensive reporting requirements. The foundations should NOT be fundraising into their foundation accounts for purposes of supporting the bond measure. If a foundation has non donated revenues such as interest or investment income, it may make contributions from such funds, within the tax parameters set by the IRS.

Q. I further understand that if contributions are made to foundations that they are tax deductible.

A. No, not if contributions are made to the foundation for the purpose of sending the money on to a ballot measure committee.

Q. In the past some people have wanted me to acknowledge their gifts to local foundations as contributions to a Bond Campaign effort. In these cases I've told them that they can have the tax deduction or the recognition, but not both.

A. You should not do this. See above.

Q. Some of districts are inquiring whether public facilities can be leased for an event. They indicate that the law allows use (Civic Center Act?) of facilities upon charge of a fee. Can this be done for these fundraising events? Another district indicates that they have a State Park facility in their area that is leased out for all kinds of events by private parties. Is this an option for that district?

A. Yes, as long as it is leased at fair market value.

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