To all invited visitors to our website:
GCDF welcomes you! Please keep in mind we are not open yet for business until we secure the assistance of a prominent individual approved by the board to help support and promote the program. All purchased sponsorships will be refunded.
If you have been invited to visit our website to study our program, please note the following updates:
- Our Board has set a deadline of May 1 to receive an offer of interest. We know many of you are studying our program with your agencies and attorneys. Please continue to reach out to us with any questions. If we do not receive an offer of interest before May 1, our Board decided to dissolve our charity and end our program. Therefore, it is important that if you have an interest in the program, that you submit to us a notice of interest before May 1.
- As per discussions with various artists in the past, we agree and are willing to merge our charity program into another incorporated charitable organization founded by a prominent artist. Upon a merger, our organization will no longer exist, but, our charity program will continue working under the new charity. However, please note point 3 below.
- Our organization contracts with public educational institutions and government ministries. Given the intergovernmental nature of our program, the charity overseeing the program may need to, within a year or two after operations, convert to what is called an intergovernmental organization. This will allow the organization to most efficiently cooperate with the foreign governments as it provides a greater level of independence and additional powers to carry out its objectives. Such organizations exist under international law (only about 2,000 exist at present). Therefore, we are not inclined to merge into a pre-existing charity, but rather merge into a new charitable organization which will operate the child sponsorship program as its primary function. The charitable organization must be incorporated in a state that permits conversions to foreign entities. (Minnesota and Wyoming are examples). States such as California or countries such as the UK do not permit conversions to foreign entities. Given our discussions with government agencies, it does appear at this time most countries we cooperate with will agree to convert the charity supporting the child sponsorship program into an IGO upon a successful start. (It takes only 2 countries to actually form the IGO.)
Why IGO and not a traditional NGO? Cultural distrust of western charitable organizations by the governments and public which will prevent cooperation with government entities. Fear that it can be used as a tool for political pressure by a national government if incorporated under the laws of a country. Since participating countries are voting members, they have some influence, therefore are more trusting of the entity. For example, Belarus hasn't approved foreign NGO license applications in years. Benefits of IGO:
- Its existence is established under international law, like the EU or the UN. It does not have a charter or constitution issued by a country or state and is not subject to the governing laws of the state.
- IGOs have the power to enter into treaties with foreign governments and other IGOs. (See 1986 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties between States and International Organizations or between International Organizations)
- Immunity from suit over its actions in national courts under the act of state doctrine. * (European countries place an expectation that the IGO will have an available tribunal for disputes or they may waive immunity per ECHR precedent.) As a general rule, IGOs are jurisdictionally sovereign.
- Able to form a governance structure most suitable for the IGO since the governance statutes of a state don't apply to the IGO.
- Substantial prestige and public recognition extending political influence to promote the agenda of the organization.
- Easier ability to cooperate with other international organizations and states to carry out the objectives of the organization.
- The IRS recognizes all IGOs as tax-exempt automatically without application.
- The treaty powers of the IGO allow its work in highly bureaucratic countries with intentionally prohibitive restrictions on NGOs since the treaty overrides the country's NGO laws.
- It's highly likely the IGO will be the first to be supported and lead by a prominent artist. There are thousands of charities created by celebrities, but none are IGOs. The artist would be in a unique position to, through the IGO, promote his/her ideas directly at an international level. IGOs existence is equal to a Sovereign Country (given treaty power capacity and other authorities). But keep in mind that the charter of the IGO will be limited to supporting the development of children in sports and arts along with other restrictions agreed to by the countries forming the IGO.
There are only about 2,000 IGOs in existence, most notable are the European Union, International Postal Union, World Trade Organization, IMF, NATO, ILA, OSCE, Pacific Salmon Commission, United Nations, and others. They serve to carry out mutual interests of participating nations which in the case of our child sponsorship program will be to foster the development of children in their educational institutions through the arts and sports.
- The organization can't offer tax-deductible benefits for donations. Charitable contributions dependant on deductible benefits can only be handled through donor-advised funds.
- The organization's powers will be limited to its chartered purpose. For example, the charity, which is intended to support children in sports/arts, can't also promote environmental causes. (It can with a treaty with at least one State or another IGO as treaties can extend powers.)
- It must be a membership-based organization which each government can appoint a voting member. The organization cannot be operated solely by a Board. The only members of an IGO are countries or other IGOs as per customary international law. (To provide memberships to individuals, creating a subsidiary nonprofit under the laws of a U.S. state is a fine alternative.)
- IGOs exist with international legal personality. This means, just like countries, they must follow customary international law.
In light of this, the best strategy for the new nonprofit is most likely to operate as a 501(c)4 for its first year and establish a donor-advised fund to collect tax-deductible donations. Given IGOs are automatically given tax-exempt status, no filings or action is required upon conversion to an IGO. However, it may be possible for an IGO to register as 501c(3) to accept donations from Foundations without the need to exercise IRS "expenditure responsibility" rules.
* Doctrine extends to IGOs (See IAM vs. OPEC). Does not cover charitable solicitation activities since they are not viewed as performed outside the country.