Frequently Asked Questions

Fort Vancouver Regional Library District is a public agency created by Washington State statute. Fort Vancouver Regional Library Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation incorporated in the State of Washington and registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a public charity. The Articles of Incorporation and the Bylaws of the foundation specifically limit the activities of the foundation to projects that support Fort Vancouver Regional Library District. The relationship between the foundation and the library is contractual. The foundation has agreed to solicit and manage donations on behalf of the library in return for administrative support.

The foundation serves as an umbrella for the Friends of the Library. In that capacity, the foundation maintains the 501(c)(3) status for all of the Friends of the Library and handles all of the necessary federal and state filing and financial reporting requirements. The Friends of the Library report their fiscal activities to the foundation on a regular basis. Each Friends of the Library group determines their own goals and activities based on the needs of their own local library.

The library can fund any program that supports the mission of the library that is not in violation of law. As a public agency, the library cannot make a gift of public funds. This means that the library cannot give away food, books or anything of value. The foundation, as a private nonprofit organization, can provide these items without violating state law. The foundation can provide food and other volunteer recognition items for the Friends Fair and the Annual Volunteer Reception. They can also provide incentive prizes for programming such as gift cards that are earned by participating readers in the Teen Summer Reading Program.

Donations to the library and to the foundation are both tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

As a public agency, donations made directly to the library have some limitations that do not apply to donations made to the foundation. Once a donation is made to the library, the donation becomes public funds that are subject to the same restrictions as tax dollars. These funds cannot be used in any way that could be interpreted as a gift of public funds. In addition, investment opportunities are limited for the library. The foundation has a wide range of investment opportunities that are safe, but that bring a higher yield than investments that can be made by the library.

A Board of Directors oversees the foundation as a nonprofit organization. The Board of Directors is comprised of community representatives who support the mission and goals of the foundation.