AMIA Fiscal Sponsorship
Many individuals, foundations, corporations, or government organizations restrict funding of independent projects to tax-exempt organizations. AMIA’s Fiscal Sponsorship program is a legal and financial mechanism by which AMIA, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, serves as a conduit for financial resources, and provides some support and oversight for project grants.
Projects Fiscally Sponsored by AMIA are able to offer the incentive of a charitable deduction for income tax purposes, a service individuals could not otherwise offer. It also enables grant seekers the ability to access foundation and government grant funding that may only be accessible to non-profit organizations or fiscally sponsored projects.
AMIA provides administrative and programmatic platforms that enable you to develop, launch and promote high-impact projects around the globe. Our fiscal sponsorship services make it possible for individuals and unincorporated groups to create grantmaking programs or receive U.S. tax-deductible donations. Establishing a fiscal sponsorship under AMIA’s 501(c)(3) public charity designation substantially reduces the costs typically associated with developing nonprofit governance, management and operational infrastructure. It also can be a useful interim step while your project makes the transition to independent charitable status.
Many Grants Call for Institutional Affiliation
It is said that fewer than one out of ten foundations and very few government agencies are willing to consider proposals from individuals without institutional affiliation. One of the key reasons funders require affiliation is that sponsors serve as a buffer to dilute the funder's responsibility. Such responsibility is of particular concern to foundation administrators, whose programs of grants for individuals have been the subject of much Congressional scrutiny in the past. Most foundation grants are awarded to tax-exempt organizations, which in turn select individual recipients to participate in various programs.
What are some other advantages of fiscal sponsorship?
- Ability to receive tax-deductible donations. A donor that contributes to a project through a fiscal sponsor with 501(c)(3) status may normally deduct the contribution as a charitable contribution deduction. Those funds will then be directed to the project to assist the project with running its programs.
- Ability to get off the ground faster. Typically, a fiscal sponsor permits a new project to test its new ideas more quickly than it otherwise could by providing administrative and capacity-building support and permitting the project to begin funding without the delays associated with incorporating and filing for tax-exemption.
- Wider base of support. Projects that don’t already have pre-existing relationships with funders may be in a better position to secure some grants or charitable donations if they have a fiscal sponsorship relationship with a reputable charity.
- Financial and administrative support. This support not only makes it possible for projects to focus more time and energy on their missions and less on administrative matters, but, due to economies of scale, may also be provided at lower cost to a project than the project might have to pay if it incorporated on its own.
Is your project eligible?
To be considered, your project must be a non-commercial work – not intended as a for-profit business opportunity – and fall within AMIA’s mission, which is dedicated to the preservation and use of moving image media. AMIA Membership is required for all projects accepted into the program at either the Individual or Institutional level. Membership of all key staff or institutions must be maintained throughout the life of the fiscal sponsorship account.
How do I apply?
AMIA will accept up to three projects in order to allow sufficient resources for administration and financial services. There is an application fee of $25. Each applicant must provide a Proposal:
- Project Description – A thorough description of the project, its goals and deliverables.
- Project Timeline – A month by month calendar from the project inception to finish.
- Funding Strategy - A key factor in determining our acceptance of a project is the project leader’s ability to raise funding to complete the project. Include specific grants that you intend to pursue to meet your budget. Please include specific grant targets.
- Budget – should be well-developed, realistic and consistent with your timeline. It should include all phases for which you need fiscal sponsorship.
- Key Staff Bios – Principle personnel: Project leader, partners, independent contractors
You may send your Proposal electronically to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail to AMIA . 1313 Vine Street . Los Angeles, CA 90028. Your $25 application fee can be sent via check or credit card.
How it works
For foundation and government grant applications made with the support of AMIA, AMIA charges a standard administrative fee of 8%, as well as a final accounting report fee of $750. Please note that the applicant is responsible for all fund raising, AMIA acts as the fiscal sponsor but will not seek funding for projects.
Credit Card Fees: Donations made by credit card incur an additional 3% transaction fee, in addition to the administrative fees listed above.
Contributions to your account are deposited into AMIA’s federally-insured bank account. Fees are deducted at the time of contribution. Expenses incurred on behalf of the Project (bank charges) will be billed against the account.
You are responsible for maintaining your own financial records. In addition, the project leader will provide a final financial report to AMIA so that it may be used to reconcile with the AMIA financial report to the funder(s). AMIA will send you a 1099 form each year. Consult a tax advisor concerning your participation in the program.
More Information …
For 25 years, AMIA programs have helped students and professionals work together to preserve and provide access to our media heritage. The AMIA Fiscal Sponsorship Program is another service to encourage projects that move our field forward, that educate about the importance of preserving our media, and add to the knowledge of the field.
What is a 501(c)(3) organization?
A 501(c)(3) organization, commonly called a charitable organization, must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. All projects participating in Fiscal Sponsorship must fit within our organizational guidelines. In addition, contributions to a 501(c)(3) are deductible for Federal income tax purposes to the extent allowed by law.
Does fiscal sponsorship allow the project to be absolved from tax reporting?
No. Contributions received and disbursed by AMIAwill likely be treated as income by the IRS. AMIA will issue Form 1099-MISC for total payments over $600 during the calendar year to each project, except if the project is a corporation. Note that an LLC is treated as a partnership and not as a corporation, except if IFP has received certain written notification from the LLC stating that each member of the LLC is a corporation. Consult a tax advisor to determine your specific liability.
Why does the Fiscal Sponsorship Program have an application process?
AMIA must insure project activities are conducted according to IRS regulations and must establish discretion and control over the project and the contributions received. This is accomplished through an application process, internal procedures regarding grants, and a sponsorship agreement between AMIA and the project to govern the relationship.
Why does AMIA need to establish discretion and control over a sponsored project?
Technically speaking, your donor has made a contribution to AMIA with a recommendation that AMIA grant this contribution to your project while also monitoring that their funds are put to proper use and that all tax-reporting requirements are met.
Once I am fiscally sponsored, have I become a non-profit?
No. Being sponsored at AMIA does not make the project or production company a tax-exempt organization.
Does AMIA Fiscal Sponsorship process in-kind contributions?
AMIA Fiscal Sponsorship is not able to accept or grant a charitable gift letter for in-kind contributions such as donations of goods or equipment.
Does the project retain its own legal identity if it has a fiscal sponsor?
Yes. Your project is a separate legal entity and not part of AMIA. You retain creative control, ownership and responsibility for tax reporting and liability. This will be outlined in the agreement between you and AMIA.
What is the difference between corporate sponsorship and fiscal sponsorship?
Corporate sponsorship consists of support, usually in the form of money or materials, given directly to the project. Often corporate sponsors expect something in return, such as advertising or publicity. However, many corporations also maintain philanthropic programs that donate to tax-exempt charitable organizations.
How will my application be evaluated?
The AMIA Board reviews all applications. Projects will be prioritized based on adherence to AMIA’s mission, the thoroughness of the application materials, any history of involvement with AMIA by the project’s principals, the impact of the project, and the ability of AMIA to provide the best environment for your initiative to start, grow and achieve.