September/October, 2000: "AFCF Supports AFCA's Educational Vision and Purpose"

by Mike Bourland
American Football Coaches Foundation

Courtesy: AFCA
Release: 09/01/2000

In the last issue of The Extra Point, the focus of this column was to introduce readers to the American Football Coaches Foundation ("the Foundation"), to explain how it functions as a "Special Team" for the AFCA, and to demonstrate the strategic importance of each AFCA member-coach's participation.

The Foundation was created to raise funds, through various fund raising activities, to help promote and support AFCA's educational vision and purpose. The AFCA provides many educational opportunities to its member coaches. In order to provide these opportunities, AFCA must have a large amount of revenue at its disposal. The AFCA historically has relied heavily on the membership dues of its member coaches, corporate sponsorships and the revenue from two preseason college football games. However, as noted in the previous issue, the revenue from these two preseason college football games will expire in two years, creating a critical need for replacement revenue. That is why your help is so important.

This month's article will focus on some of the ways in which you can help support AFCA through Foundation fund raising activities. The Foundation is a publicly supported, tax-exempt charity. This allows donations to the Foundation to qualify for an income tax charitable deduction to the donor. Fund raising activities should be structured for the Foundation to maintain its publicly supported charity status. To accomplish this, the IRS rules regarding publicly supported tax-exempt charities must be followed. You can help us provide funding for the Foundation and maintain this status in a number of ways.

First, the AFCA needs your personal commitment to the Special Team by your own contribution (in addition to your annual membership fee). Remembering that under IRS rules, for every dollar given by a large number of small contributors, including member coaches, the Foundation can receive two more dollars from a wealthy donor without endangering the Foundation's favorable publicly supported tax-exempt charity status. Your contribution and the contribution of other smaller donors open the door for significant additional contributions. Therefore, it is important that the Foundation receive contributions from a broad range of donors, which specifically includes member coaches of the AFCA. If each member-coach contributes $50 (in addition to the annual membership fee), the Foundation will collect approximately $500,000 in annual public support to replace the lost revenue from the preseason games. These contributions are deductible on a donor's federal income tax return as a charitable contribution. Remember that donation checks should be made payable to the Foundation (because contributions made directly to the Association are not eligible for an income tax deduction).

A second way for you to help is by raising awareness of the vision of the AFCA in your community and at your school. As a coach, you have the unique opportunity to influence a broad portion of the general public. You are also experienced in motivating people to accomplish goals. This is a great way for the community, supporters of your school and others to provide funding to better equip coaches to deal with the issues of today's athletes.

Taking community awareness one step further is the next way that you can help, through active fund raising in your community and at your school. You can do this through your organization of and participation in Foundation fund raising functions such as banquets and golf tournaments. For example, let's assume you organize a fund raising banquet, to honor your team, the proceeds to be contributed to the Foundation. A donor to the fund raising banquet purchases a ticket for $50. The purchase price of that ticket entitles the donor to a dinner, the value of which is $20. The amount of the donor's contribution deduction is the excess of the meal value over the contribution, in this case, $30. Fund raising golf tournaments operate in the same manner. Each participant will make a contribution to the Foundation to play golf in the tournament. Any money contributed by a participant in excess of the value of that which he or she receives (for example, greens fee, cart fee, golf balls, shirt, etc.) qualifies as an income tax charitable contribution. These are just two examples of fund raising activities that target a broad range of your community and school supporters. Be imaginative. What has been successful in the past in fund raising? What additional things can be tried? Is there a way to get the Foundation involved in the future?

Fund raising activities must be structured in a way that the Foundation receives the broadest public support possible. There are IRS rules regarding the sources of support to the Foundation. Because we seek to maintain the Foundation's status as a publicly supported tax-exempt charity, the Foundation must receive at least one-third of its support from a large number of donors (i.e. the general public). An individual donor's contribution in excess of two percent of total contributions received by the Foundation will not qualify in satisfying the one-third public support test. That means that small contributions by a large number of donors are necessary to get the maximum benefit from the contributions of a small number of wealthy donors. Every dollar that a member coach contributes, and every dollar that is contributed because of your active support in involving a large segment of the community and school opens the door for maximum benefit from larger donations. The effect is circular: You raise money and awareness, and these contributions allow larger donations from a smaller group of large donors, including foundations. The result is the generation of significant revenue to the Foundation to aid the AFCA in achieving its educational vision - a "win-win" situation.

While this article has primarily focused on "contributions" - from member coaches and your local community and school supporters, there are other sources of permissible fund raising. Next month's article will focus on fund raising through the sale of goods and merchandise. Revenue generated by these activities is called "gross receipts" revenue and subject to other IRS rules and restrictions. However, the rules and restrictions are not difficult, and if properly understood and implemented, can be a major source of funding for the Foundation as it strives to support the educational vision of the AFCA.

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“Coach George Smith is not only an influence on young people, but the influence is multiplied many times in the beliefs of the young people he helped mold into amazing human beings. George is an outstanding coach, but more importantly, he is an outstanding gentleman.” —Tina Jones, Principal of St. Thomas Aquinas High School