7 Reasons Our 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Status Helps us to Better Serve the Community
By Emily Gallion, Grant & Metrics Manager/Advocacy Manager and Lauren Wolford, Development Lead
At The Foodbank, we have a special responsibility to our community to ensure that everyone can put food on the table. While every type of organization has a place in hunger relief work, our tax-exempt status holds us to increased standards of transparency and accountability.
In 1976, we began this work under the name “The Emergency Resource Bank,” providing comprehensive relief services to those in need as a subsidiary of the American Red Cross. We narrowed our focus to food distribution soon after and later became a 501(c)3 in 2003.
Why are we proud of our 501(c)3 status? Here are seven reasons:
- Publicly Available Tax Filings
The first step in becoming a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation begins with a state registration as a nonprofit organization. All nonprofit corporations are registered in the state and can be found on your Secretary of State’s website. For the specific 501(c)(3) accreditation, the Foodbank is considered a charity organization that abides by IRS filings, and disclosures. These IRS standards ensure that the organization does not operate for the benefit of private interests and that none of the organization’s net earnings are for the benefit of any private shareholder or individual. Simply put, the 501(c)(3) status ensures to the Foodbank’s stakeholders that our services and resources benefit our customers and community.
- Oversight by an Independent Board of Directors
The Foodbank recruits individuals from a variety of stakeholder groups, from fields such as healthcare, education, and food service. These experts help guide us when we make key decisions. Our Board of Directors meets regularly to conduct business such as approving our annual budget, reviewing our bylaws and other internal policies, and evaluating our performance. Significantly, all members of our Board donate to The Foodbank.
- Annual Financial Report
Once a year, The Foodbank produces an annual report detailing our accomplishments and finances. We make this report available to members of the public via our website. The annual report is an important method of sharing our activities with the community. Like many community organizations, the majority of our funding comes from individual donors. Through the report, we are able to demonstrate to them that we are using their donations effectively.
- Fulfillment of Grant Reporting Requirements
As a registered 501(c)3, we are eligible to receive grant funding from a variety of sources, including government grants or contracts, private foundations, and corporations. These relationships provide an additional layer of validity to our programming as they require us to track specific, measurable outcomes. The Foodbank also collects and disseminates a variety of data, including the number of people served through our programming and the amount of food we distribute, to entities such as the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, Montgomery County, and the Ohio Association of Foodbanks. This data provides important insights into the state of food insecurity in our community.
- Publicly Available Community Impact Statement
In addition to our Mission and Vision Statements, the Foodbank’s Community Impact Statement is available on our website. Community Impact Statements vary from organization to organization, however, they are a useful tool for relaying the social and economic contributions that nonprofit organizations make to their communities. For the Foodbank, our Community Impact Statement is updated annually and includes important information about our programs, economic impact, disaster relief work, advocacy work, collaborative work with our partner agencies, and more.
- Guidestar and Charity Navigator Ratings
Nonprofit organizations’ tax filings are readily available through a variety of public databases, including Guidestar.org and Charity Navigator. These resources also rate organizations on a variety of measures, including financial efficiency, accountability, and transparency. The Foodbank regularly receives top marks from these organizations, which can help donors to make informed decisions about where their money is going. The Foodbank has received a platinum rating, the highest available, from Guidestar. We are also a Charity Navigator four star charity and scored 100 points out of 100 possible in financial, accountability/transparency, and impact/results. In 2018 and 2019, we were ranked the number two food bank in the nation by 24/7 Wall Street.
- Reporting of Outcomes to the Public
All reports, outcomes, and other pertinent information are published and can be easily accessed on our website. Like the Community Impact Statement, these outcomes are published on an annual basis and are updated on our website accordingly. The publication of these reports and their inclusion on our website ensures the Foodbank’s transparency with our community and customers.
You can access The Foodbank’s annual report here. Additional resources can be found at our website under the “learn” tab.