Why Form an Activity Committee?

The Community Foundation is not in the business of creating a non-profit empire in Oak Park. While we do entertain requests from groups to establish activity committees, we also encourage such groups to consider alternatives. Although the Foundation does assume certain administrative burdens that an independent organization would have to handle on its own, we also impose some requirements on our activity committees.

For its activity committees, the Community Foundation:
  • provides a corporate existence
  • provides documentation to reassure donors that their donations to a committee may indeed be itemized as charitable contributions when filing income tax returns
  • maintains liability insurance, not only for the organization but also for all committee officers and volunteers
  • files all necessary reports with the IRS, the California Secretary of State’s Corporations Section, and the California Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts
  • maintains non-profit status with the U.S. Postal Service so that committees may use a discounted postage rate for bulk mailing
Each activity committee is required to:
  • have elected officers
  • meet periodically (with meeting minutes taken and then approved at the next meeting)
  • provide the Foundation with copies of approved minutes
  • submit all bylaw revisions to the Foundation’s Board of Trustees for approval
  • make all expenditures via a checking account, with all checks signed by two officers
  • allow the Foundation’s Treasurer to review the committee’s financial records
  • abide by Foundation policies, annually certifying that certain policies are indeed being followed
  • pay a portion of the Foundation’s annual liability insurance premium

The Foundation’s policies also provide a process that an activity committee may use to become an independent charitable organization, no longer affiliated with the Community Foundation. The process ensures that federal and state laws governing the use of charitable funds are not violated. Under those same laws, Foundation policies require that, when an activity committee dissolves, the Foundation receives all remaining funds in the committee’s treasury. Customarily, those funds are then used for a purpose very similar to that of the former committee.