At Silicon Valley Community Foundation, our donors hold different definitions of “community.” To some, community means their own neighborhood. To others, it is the town where they grew up. Still others see themselves as global citizens. SVCF supports the diverse interests of our donors and their connections to local, national and global communities, as we recognize that social issues are not confined to singular spaces.
With an in-house international grants team, best-in-class philanthropic experts and numerous initiatives centered on global giving, SVCF enables philanthropic possibilities around the world and serves as a comprehensive charitable partner.
How to give to international organizations
We maintain a global charity database of more than 1,100 international organizations that have been vetted and can accept donations online:
How we vet international organizations
Vetting International organizations can often be both time consuming and costly. SVCF works closely with donors to ensure the process is as smooth as possible, as well as cost effective.
At SVCF we implement two forms of vetting, Equivalency Determination and Expenditure Responsibility.
To ensure regulatory compliance under U.S. tax law, grants to international organizations without a 501(c)(3) determination letter from the United States Internal Revenue Service require further due diligence through a process called equivalency determination. Equivalency determination is the preferred vetting mechanism. If the organization is found to be equivalent to a U.S. 501(c)(3), it will be eligible to receive a wider variety of grants over a longer period of time. After an organization is vetted, it is added to the SVCF’s master list of international non-governmental organizations (NPOs).
During this vetting process, SVCF works directly with an organization’s staff to obtain documents that will determine whether the organization is the equivalent of a U.S. 501(c)(3) public charity. If the organization is a public university or government agency, there is a separate process for foreign governmental affiliates. Requested documents include, but are not limited to, governing documents, by-laws, establishing documents and a list of board members and key employees. All documents must be submitted in English, and the length of the due diligence process depends on an organization’s responsiveness and ability to provide the necessary paperwork.
To determine if grants can be made to an organization that is not considered a public charity but operates charitable projects, SVCF also completes an “expenditure responsibility” process. SVCF works with the organization’s staff to verify the charitable nature of the project for which funding is being recommended and to evaluate the organization’s ability to carry out the purpose of the grant. Requested documents vary, but are often very similar to the documents required for equivalency determination.
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