Glossary Term

Public Charity

A tax-exempt entity legally defined under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, distinguished from private foundation entities covered in that same section. Public charities derive their funding primarily from the general public, through fees for service or products, contracts, and gifts and grants. Some public charities make grants or other philanthropic contributions such as scholarships (e.g., community foundations, public foundations), but most are focused on advancing their philanthropic missions through a variety of charitable services and activities. The IRS further subclassifies a number of types of public charities, including supporting organizations.

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