[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]

Re: E-M:/ Charities

Enviro-Mich message from "Tom & Anne Woiwode" <woiwode@voyager.net>

Charities are required to provide information to the state or the federal
government, or sometime both.  That information is available for review by
members of the public.  It is up to you to determine if the purposes of the
organization are what you consider to be worthwhile -- there is an extremely
wide array of organizations that fit the charitable label, and what you CAN
find out about them is whether they meet reporting and financial

A non-profit tax-exempt organization that has been designated by the IRS as
either a tax-deductible organization (501(c)(3)) or a non-tax-deductible
organization (501(c)(4)) is required to file a Form 990 with the government
which lists their sources of donations and how they have used those funds in
meeting their purposes.  In order to receive a tax-exempt status, an
organization must provide information about the purpose of the organization,
those purposes must be consistent with the laws governing tax-exempt status,
and they must conduct their activities in accord with the provisions of the
law.  Every organization that files a Form 990 must make that information
available to the public upon request, although I think a reasonable cost to
cover expenses can be charged. I will note that I checked the web page for
Defenders of Wildlife and their annual report for 1998 is listed as a link,
with financial and programmatic information, at www.defenders.org.

There is also a requirement that charitable organizations in Michigan comply
with reporting provisions to the Division of Charitable Trusts in the
Attorney General's office.  I don't know how you go about getting access,
but contacting the AG's office may give you direction.

Lastly, there are independent analyses done by some groups (although the
names escape me at the moment) of the charities to determine if they are
spending their money appropriately.  You'll see reports on occasion from
these groups in the media.

Anne Woiwode
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Enviro-Mich message from "maryann whitman" <maryannwhitman@hotmail.com>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Does anyone have any idea of how one would go about the validity of a
> charity like 'Defenders of Wildlife' and the 'Wildlife Land Trust'?  I know
> the latter is part of the Humane Society of the U S, but what does that
> mean?
> Maryann Whitman
> Maryann Whitman           Voice: 248-652-4004
> 2271 Rochester Road       Fax: 248-601-2553
> Oakland, MI 48363-2412    E-mail: maryannwhitman@hotmail.com

ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.   Archives at

Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
majordomo@great-lakes.net  with a one-line message body of  "info enviro-mich"