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State and Local Impact Fund Guidelines

(Formerly known as State and Local League Grant Program)

Overview

The State and Local Impact Fund  (SLIF) is designed to allow state and local Leagues and Inter-League Organizations that are not exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) to solicit tax-deductible donations designated for the League of Women Voters Education Fund. These donations can be used to reimburse expenses for 501(c)(3)-permissible charitable and educational activities that the participating League or ILO carries out in compliance with League policies. This program provides Leagues with 501(c)(4) status an additional method to raise funds for important local mission work that may have been unavailable to them otherwise. The program is administered by LWVEF at the National Office. LWVEF provides balance statements on a quarterly basis and highly encourages participating Leagues to sign up for electronic statement delivery by requesting via email to [email protected].

IRS Criteria Summary

The following is a summary of the types of activities that constitute  501(c)(3)-permissible charitable or educational activity that could be supported through the State and Local Impact Fund. This is not intended to provide comprehensive guidance on the permissible 501(c)(3) activities. LWVEF encourages all participating Leaguesfully familiarize themselves with 501(c)(3) permissible spending guidelines by reviewing the IRS publication, IRS Compliance Guide for Public Charities (Publication 4221).

  • The project must be educational in nature and designed to inform the public in a fair and objective manner. It cannot advocate for a position or urge action to affect a piece of legislation at the local, state or federal level. It cannot involve work with political parties or candidates for office, other than nonpartisan voters service activities, and it cannot influence the outcome of an election.  Permissible activities include:
    1. Nonpartisan Candidate Forums
    2. Voter guides
    3. VOTE411 Access
    4. Voter Registration Events
  • The project must serve the public, not League members exclusively. Internal membership materials would not qualify for funding under this service.
  • Education Fund resources cannot be used to promote League membership operations. Thus, the funding provided by the Education Fund under this program cannot be used to support the membership recruitment or membership maintenance activities of your League.
  • Any request for reimbursement of operating costs that can reasonably be seen as supporting 501(c)(3) activities must clearly outline:
    1. The 501(c)(3) permissible activities that the operating costs are supporting
    2. The methods and justification for methods used to determine the allocation of operating expenses between permissible and non-permissible activities
    3. Documentation that clearly shows that the requested amount is being used in support of stated 501(c)(3) activities

LWVEF Criteria Summary

In addition to the IRS requirements described above, the use of funds provided by the Education Fund must comply with the following Education Fund rules.

  1. LWVEF shall have the final discretion in determining whether a project meets IRS guidelines.
  2. The project must fully comply with the League’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Policy.
  3. The project cannot involve the development of a League position by consensus or other form of agreement nor can it promote a League position.
  4. The project must not give direct grants to outside organizations.
  5. If the project generates income, the income must be used only for educational purposes with the same requirements and restrictions on use imposed under this policy for donated funds, and Leagues must keep adequate documentation to show income and its appropriate use and make that documentation available for review by LWVEF upon request.

Collecting and Sending Funds for Deposit

  • State and local Leagues should instruct donors to make contributions to LWV Education Fund or LWVEF. Do not deposit these checks into your League’s bank account.
  • Donations to the Education Fund for the State and Local Impact Fund cannot be taken online at this time.
  • Once your league is ready to deposit donation checks, please complete the deposit form available here in its entirety. Completed forms should be sent to:

ATTN: State and Local Impact Fund
League of Women Voters Education Fund
1730 M St NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20036

  • Once form and deposits are received, LWVEF will send an acknowledgment of receipt to the league contact included on the deposit form.
  • LWVEF will send IRS required tax receipts to donors of gifts of $250 or more on a rolling, monthly basis.

Withdrawal of Funds

  • To reduce administrative costs, each reimbursement request must be for a minimum of $100. LWVEF may waive this requirement if it determines that circumstances warrant an exception.
  • Requested reimbursements may not exceed available SLIF funds (i.e. the amounts you have sent to LWVEF for deposit under the program less the amounts you have used for 501(c)(3)-permissible purposes under the program).
  • When your League has completed a project or event, you may request reimbursement using funds your league has collected and deposited with LWVEF to reimburse some or all of the cost associated with the project or event. League Treasurers should determine what expenses are allowable to be reimbursed under IRS guidelines and SLIF rules, and request that amount using the online request platform
  • Please include a detailed description of the scope of the project and why the requested amount is permissible to be reimbursed.
  • Because LWVEF is acting as a fiscal sponsor of Leagues participating in this program it is required to ensure that all requests meet IRS guidelines and SLIF rules before disbursing any funds. To ensure expedient processing and disbursement of funds please make sure to include all applicable receipts, invoices, copies of products, and any other documentation that support that the request complies with IRS guidelines and SLIF rules. LWVEF will not disburse funding until it is satisfied through documentation that IRS guidelines and SLIF rules have been met.
  • Withdrawal requests will be automatically routed for approval through the LWVEF bill pay system, Bill.com. LWVEF requires participating Leagues to set up direct deposit.

Per Member Payments (PMP)

  • LWVUS permits up to 50% of a state or local League’s PMP obligation to be offset by a contribution to LWVEF in-lieu of PMP payment of the same amount.
  • To use SLIF funds to make a contribution to LWVEF in-lieu of payment to LWVUS please complete your request using the online request platform.
  • Many state Leagues allow a portion of state PMP to be offset by a contribution to a 501 (c)(3) charitable affiliate of the State League in-lieu of PMP as well. The allowable percentage varies on a state-by-state basis so please check with your state League Treasurer on program details before requesting SLIF funds to be used for this purpose.
  • To request that SLIF funds be used as a contribution in lieu of payment for state PMP, please complete your request using the online request platform. A copy of your state PMP invoice is required.
  • In order to use SLIF funds to make such contributions to offset PMP that would otherwise be due to LWVUS or a state League, the local League must advise potential donors solicited for contributions to LWVEF under the SLIF program that the funds raised may be used to make contributions to the national LWVEF or the state League affiliated 501(c)(3), and not merely in support of local 501(c)(3)-permissible activities.

Example: The funds you contribute to the League of Women Voters Education Fund under this program may be used to support the charitable and educational activities of our League and to make contributions to [state 501(c)(3)] and the national League of Women Voters Education Fund.

VOTE411 Invoice Payment

  • State and local Leagues that use the VOTE411 voter guide software are permitted to use SLIF funds to pay for up to 100% of the invoiced amount.
  • To make this request, please use the online request platform.

Final Items

  • Keep copies of all transactions and financial documents for reconciling with LWVEF records and to satisfying IRS financial document retention rules requiring documentation be kept for 7 years.
  • Please thank your donors. LWVEF will acknowledge donations of $250 or more in accordance with IRS requirements but making sure your donors are thanked is important for future fundraising.
  • Do not request more than your available SLIF funds (i.e. the amounts you sent for deposit less the amounts you have used). If you are unsure of your balance, please send a request for an updated balance statement to [email protected].
  • Any reimbursement for indirect cost items (operating expenses, rent, employee payment, etc.) must have associated support documentation such as invoices, timesheets, etc.
  • For timely reimbursement, sending requests with complete backup documentation is essential.