Affidavits FAQs

What is an affidavit?

In order for the Mott Foundation, or any other United States private foundation, to make a grant to a non-U.S. charitable organization, certain rules and procedures must be followed. We must determine that the organization would qualify as a section 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization (that is, a public charity or private foundation) in the United States. We make this equivalency determination based, in part on a document, which we refer to as the “affidavit packet.”

An affidavit is a legal term that refers to a sworn statement that has legal standing before official agencies. The affidavit packet must be completed and signed by an authorized representative of your organization. The affidavit and all attachments or supporting documentation must be in English (organizational documents and legal statutes must be provided in English and in the native language).

The affidavit packet explains the organizational structure, charitable purpose or activities, governing documents, and other information. The organization must be organized and operated for charitable or other exempt purposes only, meaning that you are not a for-profit organization.

The affidavit packet also contains two financial forms. These forms will indicate whether or not your organization qualifies as a public charity according to the “public support test” of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the U.S. government department that has oversight over nonprofit organizations. The public support schedule lists the types and sources of actual financial support over the most recent five-year period. The major donor support helps the Foundation calculate what portion of your support is from “public” sources, as defined by the IRS.

Please read the instructions contained in the affidavit packet carefully. It is very important that organizations provide all the information requested in the affidavit, and all the financial figures requested on the financial forms. Missing or incomplete information hinders the processing of grant requests. If organizations have any questions or problems they are asked to refer to their program officer.

It is essential that you attach copies of your founding charter, statutes, bylaws, deed, memorandum of association or other documents that your organization uses to govern itself in English and in the native language.

The Mott Foundation will also need a copy of the statute governing dissolution of nonprofit organizations from the country in which an organization is located, in English and in the native language. Organizations are asked to check with their program officer to see if the Foundation already has the statute on file. If we do not, organizations will be asked to provide it.

Must the public support and major donor support schedules be denominated in U.S. dollars?

No. The two financial schedules may be denominated in your country’s currency.

Should the public support and major donor support schedules be prepared on the cash- or accrual-basis of accounting?

The schedules should be prepared on the cash-basis of accounting. [Note: If your organization’s financial statements are prepared on the cash-basis, then line 7e of the public support schedule should agree with the total income per your financial statements.]

Should the total of column f of the major donor support schedule agree with line 7f (total received) of the public support schedule?

No, not necessarily. Since the major donor support schedule only includes those organizations or individuals whose contributions for the five years exceed the 2% figure (as explained on line 8 of the public support schedule), it is likely that the total of column f on the major donor schedule will be less than line 1f of the public support schedule.

Can you provide additional examples or descriptions of the KEY column (types of funding support) on the major donor support schedule?

It has been our experience that the KEY(s) most often used are:

  • (key 3) Governmental agencies or organizations — an embassy, USAID, a United Nations organization, the World Bank, European Union, government-supported universities, etc.
  • (key 4) Private foundations — grantmakers like the Mott Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Open Society Institute, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and others.
  • (key 5) Publicly supported organizations and other public charities — the Red Cross, United Way organizations, many churches, schools or medical institutions, EastWest Institute, European Foundation Centre, Friends of the Earth, Nelson Mandela Children’s Funds and many others.

Who are the officers, directors and trustees?

Directors and trustees are those who serve on the board of the organization. An officer is someone who holds a position of trust, is responsible for the day-to-day operations and typically has the authority to enter into a contract on behalf of the organization.