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Ep 14 - Differences Between Charities and Private Foundations

“A public charity is your broadly supported organization, like United Way, or similarly situated groups that are getting little contributions from all over. A private foundation is your typical family and corporate foundation, where all or most of the money comes from a central source. " - Danika Mendrygal

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Are you familiar with the distinctions between a public charity and a private foundation? Is fundraising permissible in states where you lack registration? When is the appropriate time to utilize a 1023 EZ Form? Danika Mendrygal, CEO and founder of Mendrygal Law firm in Dallas, Texas, joins May Harris, Esq., MA in this episode of the Nonprofit Counsel Podcast, to explore these and other critical questions that often elude nonprofit organizations and may lead them into complications. Grab a pen and paper to absorb valuable insights – don’t miss this episode.


[1:28] Danika explains how she started her firm and began advising nonprofits
[6:27] Discussion surrounding nonprofits moving from one state to another and the ramifications of fundraising in states other than where registered
[15:00] Danika outlines the differences between private foundations and public charities and the use of the 1023 EZ Form
[20:45] Discussion of the IRS, completing forms properly and audits
[23:00] Danika advises new foundations that are less than three years old
[31:15] Danika leaves the listener with a suggestion of getting a CPA first and foremost and getting an education from the IRS website


  • All states have different laws governing non-profits. When a nonprofit operates nationwide, the law firm you engage must have experts navigating those laws.
  • ​Nonprofits should analyze where they are fundraising and transacting business because they are subjecting themselves to jurisdiction in that state.
  • There is a big difference between a public charity and a private foundation, and 501c3 needs to be aware of those differences as they begin to organize.