As discussed in last week’s Nonprofit Law Jargon Buster, there are some organizations that are, by their very nature, considered public. These include churches, schools, and hospitals. Other types of charitable organizations must pass one of two mathematical tests calculated on a four year rolling average to qualify is public.
Private foundations are subject to a more strict regulatory regime than public charities. There are penalties for “self-dealing” transactions, failure to distribute sufficient income for charitable purposes, holding concentrated interests in business enterprises, making risky investments, and for making certain types of expenditures.