As a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, the Community Environmental Council (CEC), relies on charitable contributions and accepts gifts for purposes that will help the organization further its mission. CEC urges all prospective donors to seek the assistance of personal legal and financial advisors in matters relating to their gifts, including the resulting tax and estate planning consequences. The following policies and guidelines govern acceptance of gifts made to CEC for the benefit of any of its operations, programs or services.
The Board of Trustees, officers, and staff of the CEC solicit gifts from individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies solely for the purpose of securing the operations of the CEC in accordance with its mission. The policies contained in this document are intended to provide direction and guidance in soliciting and accepting gifts.
CEC Development staff provides fundraising support to assist the organization in achieving its long-term development and fundraising goals. CEC Development staff is also responsible for issuing charitable tax receipts and documenting donor imposed restrictions, if any, in compliance with the Internal Revenue Code and Treasury Regulations.
Use of Legal Counsel:
CEC will seek the advice of legal counsel in matters relating to acceptance of gifts when appropriate. Review by counsel is recommended for:
- Gifts of securities that are subject to restrictions or buy-sell agreements.
- Documents naming CEC as trustee or requiring CEC to act in any fiduciary capacity.
- Gifts requiring CEC to assume financial or other obligations.
- Transactions with potential conflicts of interest.
- Gifts of property which may be subject to environmental or other regulatory restrictions.
Restrictions on Gifts:
CEC will honor and observe restrictions established by donors for their gifts. CEC will not accept gifts that (a) would result in CEC violating its charter, (b) would result in CEC losing its status as an IRC § 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, (c) are too difficult or too expensive to administer in relation to their value, (d) would result in any unacceptable consequences for CEC or (e) are for purposes outside CEC’s mission. Decisions on the restrictive nature of a gift, and its acceptance or refusal, shall be made by the Board Executive Committee, in consultation with the CEO/Executive Director.
CEC cannot accept donations, sponsorship, or contributions from corporations in the oil or natural gas industry or from mining and minerals companies. CEC also will not seek or accept contributions from any company in the active planning or permitting phase of a utility-scale renewable energy project in Ventura, Santa Barbara, or San Luis Obispo Counties.
Gifts Generally Accepted Without Review:
- Cash. Cash gifts are acceptable in any form, including by check, money order, credit card, or online. Donors wishing to make a gift by credit card must provide the card type (e.g., Visa, MasterCard), card number, expiration date, and name of the card holder as it appears on the credit card.
- Marketable Securities. Marketable securities may be transferred electronically to an account maintained at one or more brokerage firms or delivered physically with the transferor’s endorsement or signed stock power (with appropriate signature guarantees) attached. All marketable securities will be sold promptly upon receipt unless otherwise directed by the CEC’s Finance and Investment Committee. In some cases, marketable securities may be restricted; for example, by applicable securities laws or the terms of the proposed gift. In such instances the decision whether to accept the restricted securities shall be made by the Board Executive Committee.
- Bequests and Beneficiary Designations under Revocable Trusts, Life Insurance Policies, Commercial Annuities and Retirement Plans. Donors are encouraged to make bequests to CEC under their wills, and to name CEC as the beneficiary under trusts, life insurance policies, commercial annuities and retirement plans.
- Charitable Remainder Trusts. CEC will accept designation as a remainder beneficiary of charitable remainder trusts.
- Charitable Lead Trusts. CEC will accept designation as an income beneficiary of charitable lead trusts.
Gifts Accepted Subject to Prior Review:
- Certain forms of gifts or donated properties may be subject to review prior to acceptance. Examples of gifts subject to prior review include, but are not limited to:
- Tangible Personal Property. The Board Executive Committee shall review and determine whether to accept any gifts of tangible personal property in light of the following considerations: does the property further the organization’s mission? Is the property marketable? Are there any unacceptable restrictions imposed on the property? Are there any carrying costs for the property for which the organization may be responsible? Is the title/provenance of the property clear?
- Life Insurance. CEC will accept gifts of life insurance where CEC is named as both beneficiary and irrevocable owner of the insurance policy. The donor must agree to pay, before due, any future premium payments owing on the policy.
- Real Estate. All gifts of real estate are subject to review by the Board Executive Committee. Prior to acceptance of any gift of real estate other than a personal residence, CEC shall require an initial environmental review by a qualified environmental firm. In the event that the initial review reveals a potential problem, the organization may retain a qualified environmental firm to conduct an environmental audit. Criteria for acceptance of gifts of real estate include: Is the property useful for the organization’s purposes? Is the property readily marketable? Are there covenants, conditions, restrictions, reservations, easements, encumbrances or other limitations associated with the property? Are there carrying costs (including insurance, property taxes, mortgages, notes, or the like) or maintenance expenses associated with the property? Does the environmental review or audit reflect that the property is damaged or otherwise requires remediation?
Gifts to the Endowment
CEC maintains and seeks to grow endowment funds designed to ensure the organization’s financial stability and its ability to invest proactively in innovative and effective solutions to environmental problems, foremost climate change.
- Types of Endowment Funds:
CEC maintains two types of funds:
- Endowments are funds given by donors with the intent that the corpus of such funds be invested and held in trust and protected intact in perpetuity, and only the income from such funds be withdrawn and expended. The withdrawal policy, defined in Article 6.6 of the organization’s Bylaws, is designed to safeguard the long term value of endowments.
- Quasi-endowment Funds are funds restricted by the Board to be treated like endowments. However, the Board is entitled, for specific reasons, to draw on quasi-endowment funds beyond the level authorized in the endowment draw policy and even invade the principal of those funds. Withdrawal of funds beyond the level of the endowment draw policy must be authorized by a majority vote of the Board.
- Designation of Endowment Gifts:
Donors may designate an outright gift or a planned gift to be used as an endowment. Such gifts may either be restricted for a given use or purpose or they may be unrestricted, to be added to the corpus of endowment funds, providing core support for the organization. Gifts to the endowment may be named in accordance with naming rules established by the Board.Unrestricted planned gifts exceeding $50,000 in value are added to the quasi-endowment unless directed otherwise by a vote of the Board.
- Types of Endowment Funds:
Acknowledgement of all gifts made to CEC and compliance with the current IRS requirements in acknowledgement of such gifts will be the responsibility of the Director of Development.
Finders Fees or Commissions:
CEC will not pay a fee to any person as consideration for directing a gift to or obtaining a gift for the organization. Such payment may not be legal and may be unethical and, in the case of certain gifts, may subject CEC and its Board to federal and state securities regulation and penalties.
Accepted by the CEC Board of Directors July 19, 2018
Signed, July 19, 2018 by CEC Board President
Signed, July 19, 2018 by CEO/Executive Director