Free Legal Training: Electioneering Rules for Private Foundations and Public Charities

Editor’s Note: NCFP is excited to introduce Learn Foundation Law to our friends. We believe this resource will be invaluable to a number of foundations. This is the first partner post in a series of blogs that we will provide to our network on various legal issues affecting family foundations. 

Hi, it’s Maya from Learn Foundation Law. I’m a new program officer at a private foundation and the guide to all of the Learn Foundation Law trainings. For those who may not know, Learn Foundation Law is a free resource for online trainings and tools related to the basic legal rules for private foundations. It was created by legal staff at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.

With the presidential election this year, there is one training that is especially relevant that I’d like to introduce you to: Electioneering Rules for Private Foundations and Public Charities. With voters paying close attention to policy issues, it’s an opportunity for private foundations and public charities to get their messages out. But these organizations have to be careful during election season, particularly if they interact with candidates and voters.

To learn more, check out the free, online training on Electioneering Rules for Private Foundations and Public Charities to understand the rules and regulations related to these interactions. I’ll be part of the module helping you explore the IRS electioneering prohibition rule, which prohibits 501(c)(3)s from funding or engaging in any activities to support or oppose candidates for public office. I’ll also walk through specific nonpartisan activities that private foundations and public charities can do under these rules.

Other sections in the course include information on interacting with candidates, voter education, issue advocacy and voter participation. Also included is a handy checklist of questions you can refer to when considering if an activity violates the electioneering prohibition.

The course takes approximately an hour or so to complete. If you are not able to complete the course in one sitting, you can return to it at any time or click on the individual modules to refer back to specific topics.

I hope you find this course helpful as I did and I look forward to introducing NCFP members to other Learn Foundation Law courses in the months to come.