Grantmakers typically fund organizations that qualify for public charity status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. These are organizations whose purposes are charitable, educational, scientific, religious, literary, or cultural.

Other types of exempt organizations also exist, like social welfare organizations, trade associations, social clubs, and others. In rare instances, some foundations may give grants to these types of organizations if the funds will be used for a charitable purpose.

In such cases, the foundation must demonstrate expenditure responsibility to the IRS, a process in which the foundation must file several reports certifying that the funds were spent solely for charitable purposes as described in the grant proposal. Due to these additional requirements, many foundations will not make expenditure responsibility grants.

We do not know of any list of grantmakers that support organizations without 501(c)(3) status. If you still wish to seek foundation prospects, please consult the resources in our Knowledge Base article, How do I find foundation grants for my nonprofit?

Another approach is fiscal sponsorship, a formal arrangement in which a 501(c)(3) public charity sponsors a project that may lack exempt status. This enables the project to seek grants and solicit tax-deductible donations under your sponsor's exempt status. Please see our fiscal sponsorship article to learn more about this topic.

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