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This glossary is a work in progress. Contact us if you'd like to add, change or expand an entry.

The global nature of our network lends itself to a variety of interpretations for terms used by philanthropy professionals, depending upon cultural and legal contexts. Some of these definitions are specific to country or region (shown in italics).

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  • Administrative Endowment
    A fund that generates income used to help cover a foundation's operating costs.
  • Advised Fund (see Donor-Advised Fund)
  • Affinity Group
    A coalition of grantmaker organizations or individuals with a shared interest in a particular subject or funding area that meets to exchange information, provide networking or professional development opportunities, or facilitate collaborative programs (e.g., Africa Grantmakers Affinity Group, Grantmakers for Education).
  • Agency Endowment
    A fund managed by a community foundation on behalf of another voluntary organization. The community foundation invests the fund and periodically returns investment income to the organization or reinvests the proceeds. The community foundation receives a fee for its management and investment services.
  • Annual Report
    A report published voluntarily by a foundation or corporation describing its grant activities. It may be a simple, typed document listing the year's grants or an elaborately detailed publication. A growing number of foundations and corporations use an annual report as an effective means of informing the community about their contributions, activities, policies, and guidelines.
  • Articles of Incorporation
    A document filed with the appropriate governmental agency by persons establishing a corporation. This is usually the first legal step in forming a nonprofit corporation.
  • Assets
    Cash, stocks, bonds, real estate, or other holdings of a foundation. Generally, the resulting income from the investment of assets provides the funds used to make grants.
  • Association of Grantmakers
    A nonprofit membership organization that provides services such as information, training, and technical assistance to build the capacity of one or more emerging or established foundations and/or corporate giving programs.
  • Audit
    A detailed examination of an organization's financial statements and records for the purpose of determining that they are sufficiently accurate and properly representative.
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