From Janis Ian - Our IRS status has changed for the better!
(Tax returns and IRS letter are at bottom)
When we held our first auction, back in 1998, none of us understood the difference between a "private foundation" and a "public foundation". And when we became a legal 501(c)(3) entity under IRS rules a year later, we were held as a private foundation because the bulk of monies being donated came directly from me and my partner, Pat.
Since we have no staff, we never applied for grants, or to places like Amazon Smiles, until a few years ago, when a couple of fans mentioned that their workplaces offered matching funds, and that they'd also like to see us getting the benefits of in-kind donations and percentages offered by some on-line stores. When I applied to Amazon Smiles, I discovered they only worked with public foundations, so we were not eligible.
Why is that? Well, here's my own naivete. I had no idea that some people form private foundations mainly to pay themselves and their friends and families huge salaries, eating up most of the "charitable contributions". They expend what's legally required on charity, and not a penny more. Their overhead can reach as high as 90% of every dollar collected. So it makes sense that some private foundations are suspect, giving us all a bad name. Because of it, many reputable organizations won't deal with them.
I immediately applied to the IRS for a change in status, so we could reap the benefits of things like eBay Giving Works and Amazon Smile. And I'm pleased to say that after eight years of scrutiny, we should receive our final public documents by spring of this year (2020). Once we have those in hand, I'll be sending out an email blast asking people to register for the above and any other online "giving" opportunities on our behalf! As I keep stressing, the Foundation's expenses have never exceeded $2,500.00; anything over that is paid for by me, or donated. If you look at our tax returns, you can see where the money goes at the end of each year. As of this writing, we've endowed more than $1,100,000.00 in scholarships for returning students!!
After consultation with the Pearl Foundation's tax accountant, I decided to post our tax returns and IRS letters here. Our tax returns are public documents and available to anyone willing to do the legwork. However, Section B, which lists the names of actual donors, has been removed, because I don't feel it appropriate to post those names if they're linked to my own or the Pearl Foundation website.
I hope this explains why these things are suddenly here, and continues to assure our donors that we are, indeed, above-board and transparent in our dealings!
IRS Public Status Confirmation
2019 Tax Return
2018 Tax Return
2017 Tax Return
2016 Tax Return
2015 Tax Return
2014 Tax Return
2013 Tax Return
IRS Public Charity Letter