You are here:

Nonprofit Law/Foundation -- Grant-giving


If you put "foundation" at the end of the name of a non-profit, does that automatically classify it as a grant-giving entity? Are there regulations that keep you from using the word "foundation" if a non-profit is facilitates its own programs, is not private, and not funding charitable work of other entities?

The word "Foundation" does not have any legal connotation that would indicate that the organization is a grant-giving entity. As for the names corporations, the states have certain words that they regulate.  You wrote from Texas and you may want to see the as it deals with names and some restrictions, but I used a search of the page for "foundation" and got no hits.

You can search the database of the IRS at
and you will certainly find many organizations that have "foundation" in their name that are not grant-giving entities. I ran the search and got for the first page of the 147821 results and you can see there are many that have, in the last column "PC" which stands for "public charity" -- "PF" stands for "Private Foundation" and "POF" stands for "Private Operating Foundation".

See IRS Publication 557 "Tax Exempt Status for Your Organization"
which is available at: on the right side of page 48:
--- Start of Excerpt ---
Some private foundations qualify as private operating foundations. These are types of private
foundations that, although lacking general public support, make qualifying distributions directly for the active conduct of their educational, charitable, and religious purposes, as distinct from merely making grants to other organizations for these purposes.
--- End of Excerpt ---

Harvey Mechanic, Attorney at Law -

P.S. This response is intended to be a general statement of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship.  

Nonprofit Law

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Harvey Mechanic


DO NOT GIVE ME INFORMATION THAT YOU WANT KEPT CONFIDENTIAL. I am an attorney and I volunteer time to answer general questions about U.S. Federal income tax issues of nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charities only. Those questions could be about establishing and maintaining legal requirements for such non-profit organizations in the United States, including Internal Revenue service filings and requirements. I will not be working on this free forum to answer questions about Nonprofit's possible unrelated or for-profit businesses or how to fill out forms. This forum is only for general questions about federal tax law, not as the law applies to your specific situation. If you do not make your question public then I will not be spending much of my donated time on answers that would not benefit the public. If you have other questions, please contact me at I will reply from my email. In any case, do not reveal confidential information to me until after I have contracted with you to provide personal legal services. My responses on this forum are intended to be general statements of law, should not be relied upon as legal advice, and do not create an attorney/client relationship. For me to consider your individual situation and how the law applies, I would need to gather extensive information about the situation. To search my previous answers you can do a Google search by "" without the quotes and then add your search terms before hitting enter.


I have been practicing law and especially the law of nonprofit organizations since 1990 when I was admitted to the New York Bar and I have maintained my status with the Bar since that time.


B.S. Columbia University in New York City, 1970

J.D. (Law Degree) Brooklyn Law School, 1990 -- Cum Laude.

©2017 All rights reserved.