Glossary of Philanthropic Terms

  • Annual Campaign: An effort to raise money for the ongoing operational expenses of a nonprofit organization.
  • Capital Campaign: An effort to raise money for a specific charitable cause. Typically a capital campaign is for constructing or remodeling a facility, purchasing major equipment or re-structuring a large group of programs.
  • Donor: The individual or organization that makes a charitable gift of money, stock, land or any other asset of value.
  • Endowment: A charitable savings account. In its truest form, the money in an endowment is saved forever. The interest earned on the account is available, in perpetuity, to be used for charitable purposes.
  • Foundation: A nonprofit organization established to support causes and programs that benefit society. There are several types of foundations:
    • Private Foundations: A foundation that received its endowment from private sources. The Dekko Foundation is a private foundation.
    • Public Foundations: A foundation that receives its funds from a broad range of donors who make contributions large and small.  Most community foundations are public foundations.
    • Corporate Foundation: A foundation that receives its grantmaking funds from a business or corporation.
  • Grantmaking Priorities: Issues or causes identified as the highest importance by a particular foundation.
  • Governance: The act or process of overseeing a nonprofit organization and its programs.
  • Grant: The giving of funds for a specific purpose.
  • Grantseeker: An individual or organization who requests funding from a foundation.
  • Grantmaking: The investment of funds for a specific charitable purpose.
  • Grantee: The organization in which a charitable investment is made.
  • Grantor: The organization that makes a charitable investment.
  • Investment: The placing of money or capital into the stock or bond market for example for a profitable return. When foundations make charitable grants, they invest in the work of a certain organization expecting a return in the form of positive societal change.
  • Investment Guidelines or Priorities: Issues or causes identified as the highest importance by a particular foundation.
  • Internal Revenue Service (IRS): A division of the US Department of Treasury that collects internal revenue including income and excise taxes.
  • Mission Statement: A summary describing the aims, values and overall plan for an organization or an individual.
  • Nonprofit 501(c)(3): An incorporated organization which exists for charitable reasons for from which its shareholders or trustees do not benefit financially.
  • Philanthropy: The concept of voluntary giving (of time, talent and treasure) by an individual or group to promote the common good.
  • Pledge: Sometimes foundations offer charitable grants in the form of a pledge designed to help organizations complete their project and enhance their effectiveness and sustainability.
  • Request for Proposals (RFP): An invitation to providers of a product or service to bid on the right to supply that product or service.
  • Technical Assistance: Training and skill development for people and organizations.
  • Trustee: A person entrusted with overseeing the affairs of a company or organization.
  • Volunteer: A person who performs a service without compensation.