All members who have donated for four consecutive quarters, have the opportunity to nominate a local charity that touches their heart. Individual members may have one (1) charity on record at a time. The following eligibility criteria must be met in order for the charity to be considered by the Executive Team.
- The charity should be based in or have a local chapter in the Chattanooga area, and should committed to spend the award locally.
- Should have 501(c)(3) status a minimum of three(3) years under the same name and EIN and be in good standing with the Tennessee Attorney General’s Office. Please note: Organizations who meet the 501(c)(3) requirements based on their "religious" purpose will not be eligible for consideration. 501(c)(3) religious organizations include churches, conventions and associations of churches, integrated auxiliaries of churches, nondenominational ministries, interdenominational and ecumenical organizations, and other entities whose principal purpose is the study or advancement of religion. This also includes schools who are under the umbrella of a religious organization for tax exempt purposes.
- Charities must have three (3) years of 990 tax returns on file and be willing to share that information with us if not readily available on their website or GuideStar. In the case of smaller non-profits (annual gross receipts up to $50,000) who file an e-Postcard (Form 990-N), those organizations must be willing to share three (3) years of year-end financial statements with us. A fund held by a community foundation is eligible to be nominated. Funds must meet the three (3) year minimum status requirement and provide the last three (3) years of quarterly statements from the foundation.
- Charitable organizations must be able to provide charitable tax receipts for donations.
- Charities must be actively engaged in the community and executing their mission statement. Once it has been determined that the charity meets the eligibility criteria, the charity is vetted by a member of our Executive Team. The vetting process involves the following steps:
Once it has been determined that the charity meets the eligibility criteria, the charity is vetted by a member of our Executive Team. The vetting process involves the following steps:
Tennessee Attorney General’s Office
- Ensure the corporate status is good standing
- Verify the Corporation Type as Non-Profit and its approval date
- Identify any Notices of Pending Administrative Dissolution - anything pending that needs to be taken
- care that could impact dissolution of non-profit
- Confirm public charity deductibility status
Hamilton County Civil Court System
- Search charity name along with officers' names to determine if charity and/or its officers have/had any relevant legal action against them that indicates mismanagement of the organization or outstanding judgments against them.
- Review the 990 tax returns for the three (3) most current years. We look at revenue, expenses, net assets, percentage of expenses reported as program, administrative, and fundraising. We like to see program expenses consistently over 70%. We also look for growth and consistency in revenue. Our goal is to determine the charity is a growing, functioning business and not a hobby.
- How current is the information on the website? Are they actively engaging with the community/readers?
- Does it describe their mission and programs clearly?
- Does it list their Board of Directors?
- Are there current programs/services being promoted? Do they appear to be currently active in the community?
Charity’s Social Media
- Facebook, Instagram – we will look for engagement with their followers
- Twitter, LinkedIn presence
Other Websites Used to Verify Information
- Charity Navigator
- National Center for Charitable Statistics
- American Institute of Philanthropy (Charitywatch.org)
- Give Well
- The Better Business Bureau
- Great Nonprofits
The totality of this information is used to determine if a charity is approved by the Executive Team. We want to assure our members the organizations presented to them are relevant, engaged in their mission with our local community and fiscally responsible.
New charity nominations are due two (2) weeks prior to a quarterly meeting