Explanation Of The 501(c)3 Requirement for Organizations Participating With The Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia
(Download a printable copy here.)
In order to process your organization as a Foodbank Partner Agency, we must receive verification of your non-profit status. If you are a church or other faith-based organization, please follow the directions under “Churches.” If you are not a faith-based organization, please read under the section entitled “Non-Profit Organizations.” In order for the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia to be in compliance, appropriate documentation of participating organization's 501(C)3 status, or appropriate documentation of faith-based organization status must be received with your application.
What Are the Guidelines for a Foodbank Partner Agency as a non-profit Organization?
• A participating organization must be a non-profit tax-exempt organization described in section 501(C)3 of the IRS code.
• The organization must use the food to serve the ill, needy, elderly or infants.
• The use of food must relate to the reason why the agency is tax-exempt.
• The agency MUST NOT SELL food or charge for meals.
• The Foodbank must be able to PROVE to the IRS the agencies to which it distributes food fulfills ALL the above requirements.
How Do I Know if I Am Considered A Non-Profit Organization?
Your organization would have filed for a non-profit status with the IRS. If you were approved you would have received a letter stating you are considered a 501(c)3 organization. You must have been approved by the IRS as a non-profit organization and have received a letter in order to become a Foodbank Partner Agency.
What Does The Foodbank Need From Me?
In order to process your application we need a copy of the letter you received from the IRS. Please note this IS NOT your tax exempt number.
What Are the Guidelines for a Foodbank Partner Agency as a faith-based organization?
A letter on letterhead, affirming that the organization is, in fact a faith-based and essentially meets the spirit of the 14 criteria employed by the IRS in defining a church. List the characteristics (see below) in order, with a brief description for each, and signed by the Executive Director. This letter must be attached to this application for Foodbank membership if your agency does not have a 501(C)3.
Although churches are classified as 501(c)3 organizations, the IRS does not require they file for an official designation of status. THIS DOES NOT NECESSARILY MEAN, HOWEVER, THE FOODBANK HAS TO SERVE ANY ORGANIZATION CLAIMING TO BE A FAITH BASED ORGANIZATION.
The IRS uses the following 14 characteristics to determine whether an organization qualifies as a church:
1. A distinct legal existence.
2. A recognized creed and form of worship.
3. A definite and distinct ecclesiastical government.
4. A formal code of doctrine and discipline.
5. A membership not associated with any other church denomination.
6. A distinct religious history.
7. A complete organization of ordained ministers ministering to their congregations.
8. Ordained ministers elected after completing prescribed courses of study.
9. A literature of its own.
10. Established places of worship.
11. Regular congregations.
12. Regular religious services.
13. Sunday schools for religious instruction of the young.
14. Schools for the preparation of its ministers.
These materials protect the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and its member agencies in making certain that food bank products are used for the proper purposes and people and are in accordance with the law that permits the donors of food to take the tax deductions allowed. They also protect the organizations and the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia in maintaining THEIR charitable designation.