One way to determine if a funder is a good fit is to review the grants they have given in the past. This information can be found either on the funder’s website or in their tax forms. GrantStation’s researchers already use this information to build funder profiles, but it can be helpful to review some of the details.
- What types of organizations are being funded?
- Where are the organizations located?
- What types of support are the organizations receiving?
- How much are the grants? For example, are there a lot of smaller grants and only a few larger grants?
You also might want to consider reaching out to one or two of the grantees to get a sense of the “dos” and “don'ts” when working with a particular funder.
However, keep in mind that funders’ priorities do change, so sometimes what they funded in the past does not inform the future. Always pay attention to their current priorities, which are updated regularly in GrantStation’s funder profiles.
Some funders have a section on their website listing the grants they have awarded, either recently or over the years. If this is available, GrantStation’s funder profile will have a button linking directly to that page called Grants Awarded.
These can provide a detailed list of grantees as well as:
- basic contact information;
- total annual giving by year;
- information on revenue and expenses; and,
- current officers, directors, and trustees and their compensation.
Keep in mind that an organization's financial information is more useful if examined over a longer period of time. One year's form contains only a limited amount of information, so review the three most recent forms to get a broader picture of the funder’s giving priorities and programs.
These forms do not necessarily provide a complete picture of a funder’s charitable giving as they weren’t created for public use but rather to help the government determine if the filing organization is staying true to its philanthropic intentions. Therefore, these forms are only part of a much larger picture, and GrantStation always encourages you to also review the funder’s website if they have one.
United States: IRS Form 990
Many funders file an annual tax form called the 990. Private foundations complete a form called the IRS 990-PF (for private foundation). The layout of the 990 and 990-PF are similar but have some differences to be aware of so you can easily locate the information you are looking for.
If a funder files a 990, GrantStation’s funder profile will have a button linking directly to ProPublica, a news resource that includes 990s that have been processed by the IRS. GrantStation links to ProPublica rather than the IRS website because ProPublica posts 990s that the IRS doesn’t have in their search section for PDFs. ProPublica looks at the data tables that the IRS posts, which have more current filings, and renders that information to look like the PDF form for easier review. This makes their website even more current than the IRS website.
The list of grantees can be found in the following locations:
- 990-PF: Part XIV or in an addendum. (For those from 2020 and prior, it is in Part XV or an addendum.)
- 990: Schedule I, Part II
The list usually includes the name of the organization, address and/or location, brief purpose of the grant, and the amount received.
Canada: CRA Form T3010
Many funders file an annual tax form called the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Form T3010. For those that do, GrantStation’s funder profile will have a button linking directly to their profile on the registered charity listing.
- On the funder’s detail page, scroll down and click on Quick View.
That will take you to the quick view of the most current tax year filed.
- Scroll down and click on Gifts to other registered charities and qualified donees. That will take you to the Form T1236, which lists the name of the organization, location, and the total amount of gifts.
There are some funders who do not file tax forms.
- Corporate foundations file tax forms, but corporate giving programs do not since their giving information is in their corporate tax returns.
- Some smaller foundations are under the primary umbrella of a community foundation, so they won’t file their own tax forms.
- Some organizations that are called foundations are actually funds of a larger entity, which would then file their own tax forms.
Some small foundations don’t file tax forms. For example in the U.S., the 990-EZ is used for organizations with annual receipts of less than $100,000 and total assets less than $250,000.