THE FOLLOWING IS ONLY INTENDED TO DESCRIBE THE STAFFORD AMERICAN LEGION POST 290 FOUNDATION. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE PERSONAL INCOME TAX FILING GUIDELINES AS THESE MAY VARY DEPENDING ON YOUR PARTICULAR TAX SITUATION.
The mission and purpose of the Foundation are stated in the Foundation’s bylaws:
“ARTICLE II - MISSION AND PURPOSES
The mission of the Foundation is to support the American Legion’s National Organization’s Four Pillars of service consisting of, but not limited to, Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation, National Security, Americanism and Children and Youth at Stafford American Legion Post 290.
The purpose of the Foundation is:
(a) To conduct, engage in and promote any lawful act or fundraising activity for which nonprofit Foundations may now or hereafter be allowed under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia in support of the mission of the Foundation.”
A number of years ago Stafford County was raising funds for a new Veteran’s Memorial which is now located behind the County Courthouse. Our American Legion Post was approached by a commercial entity which asked if the Post would accept a donation of several thousand dollars for the Memorial, which was then to be passed to the Memorial’s fund raisers. The company was intent on taking a tax deduction for that donation. When the company learned that Post 290 was a 501c (19) for tax purposes, the donation was immediately withdrawn due to the fact that the company’s financial rules stated that donations could be made ONLY to 501c (3) organizations.
Our American Legion Post is a 501c (19) Veteran’s organization. Under IRC 501c (19), a veterans' organization is permitted to conduct both social welfare activities, and social and recreational activities among its members without adversely affecting its tax-exempt status. And generally, contributions to 501c (19) organizations are deductible as charitable donations for federal income tax purposes if at least 90% of the members are war veterans. This means that any donations made to the Post are tax deductible by the donor.
In order to open up the opportunity for receiving donations from corporate sponsors, which may have rules requiring donations be given only to 501c (3) organizations, the Post 290 Foundation was created as a 501c (3). You may be able to claim a deduction on your federal taxes if you donated to a 501(c) 3 organization. With proper documentation, you can claim vehicle or cash donations. Being "501c (3)" means that a particular nonprofit organization has been approved by the Internal Revenue Service as a tax-exempt, charitable organization.
What all this means is that the Post is free to solicit/receive donations, either cash, or in kind, and that as a 501c (19) those donations are tax deductible by the donor. The Post 290 Foundation only comes into the picture if the donor wants to give only to a 501c (3). Then the donation can be made to the Foundation (but only if the donor resists giving to a 501c (19)). Otherwise the Post can and should accept the donation directly.
The Foundation will accept direct donations to the Foundation, to use at the Foundation’s discretion in support of the Foundation’s mission and purposes, or the donation can be for a donor specified purpose, activity or group within the Post. Donations that are specified are turned over to the Post’s Finance Officer for distribution to the designated intent.