University of Massachusetts Amherst

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What is 501(c) status?

A 501(c) organization, also known colloquially as either a 501(c) or a "nonprofit", is an American tax-exempt nonprofit organization. Section 501(c) of the United States Internal Revenue Code provides that 29 types of nonprofit organizations are exempt from some federal income taxes. 501(c)(3) exemptions apply to corporations, and any community chest, fund, cooperating association or foundation, organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, to foster national or international amateur sports competition, to promote the arts, or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals. Many foundations and corporate matching programs ONLY grant funds to an organization with such status.