Fiscal Sponsorship


Creating your own Jewish program doesn’t always require funding.  You don’t have to pay rent, you can meet in homes or public spaces and you can donate or contribute your time and or resources rather than pay employees or salaries.  But as programs grow, many require financial support to be successful, and project founders seek donations. Tarbuton can fiscally sponsor projects aligned with our mission.  Through our Startup18 program we can help with:

  • Fiscal sponsorship for a tax-exempt home for donors and grants
  • Advise about back-office support and HR, payroll & benefits support through partners


Fiscal sponsorship can increase funder confidence because we provide oversight and support.  Participation in a Hackathon/Pitch fest, in the Jewish Engagement Lab or a Fellowship can give a funder confidence in your work.


1. Who participates?

Early-stage Jewish founders who seek advice and counsel, resources, connections, access and a supportive network of friends.  We also work with philanthropists, donors and foundations who are dedicated to supporting grassroots programming and Jewish innovation.

We encourage projects to create their own 501c3, in particular if they believe their project will last for several years and the budget will grow sufficiently to cover the added work and expenses.  To read about the 10 steps to create a CA nonprofit click here.  To file application to create a 501c3 with the IRS click here.  For those who aren’t quite ready for the extra responsibility and/or administrative/accounting work, we offer fiscal sponsorship.

2. What is a Fiscal Sponsor?

NNFS_logoFiscal sponsors are nonprofits that advance the public benefit by facilitating the development and growth of charitable, mission-driven activities. According to the directory for these organizations, 247+ fiscal sponsors operate in the United States, most of them supporting the arts. Film and video projects are a major subcategory, with education next with 146 projects, followed closely by youth development at 137, and children, youth and families at 125, a snug third. Tarbuton conforms with the guidelines of the National Network of Fiscal Sponsors. Fiscal sponsorship allows projects to solicit and receive tax deductible donations from individuals and gifts from foundations without having to create a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation.  The Tarbuton is a 501(c)(3) and an independent not-for-profit organization.

3. What kinds of projects do you support?

We support events, short-term, and long-term projects for individuals and organizations focused on the Jewish community.  As a fiscal sponsor, the Tarbuton serves as a non-profit tax-exempt umbrella organization that accepts and administers contributions made to select projects.

We sponsor any Jewish project that aligns with the Tarbuton mission and benefits the public. Tarbuton has a soft spot for Israeli and Jewish projects that benefit the community through arts and culture, any projects defined as Jewish outreach, Jewish or Israeli community engagement, building Jewish identity and/or advancing Jewish values will generally be aligned. In particular we like to sponsor: Arts and culture, education, after-school and Sunday programs, Hebrew language instruction, camps, festivals, holiday events and performances.

4. Can I apply for grants immediately after I Sign a Fiscal Sponsorship Agreement?

Yes.  You can apply for grants and donors can make donations to support your project.  Fiscal sponsorship does not provide funds, grants or any monetary funding in and of itself nor does  Tarbuton fundraise or solicit donations for individual projects. We will make recommendations to project founders for funding sources and review and provide feedback for grant proposals. Many foundations want to see a proven track record and an established base of support before they will consider making a grant.  If you do not have a track record, or existing support, we recommend that you “pilot” your project before applying for foundation grants.

5. What are your fees?

Fiscal sponsorship fees are 7% to cover the costs of accounting, donor and grant acknowledgements, reporting and oversight.  Most fiscal sponsor fees are in a range between 9% and 15% with a higher rate for government grants.  Many also have minimum fee/budget requirements. Since Tarbuton’s goal is to support indie project development, grassroots, authentic, and personal program development we try to make it as easy as possible for small programs to get off the ground and our fees are designed to cover the costs of running the program.

6. How long does it take to be approved?

After you submit your application, we will contact you within five working days for an initial approval.  Afterward we will follow-up with a brief orientation via phone or Skype, to confirm if the project and Tarbuton are a good match for each other and finalize the fiscal sponsorship agreement.

7. What are my responsibilities as a project beyond my public benefit work?

Projects under fiscal sponsorship complete a description of their project as part of the application process and will be obligated to update Tarbuton on their progress.  When submitting funding proposals for grants, you will include Tarbuton’s tax exempt letter and indicate, “We are working with Tarbuton, a 501c3 organization registered with the state of California, as our fiscal sponsor.  All donations/grants are made to Tarbuton on our behalf.”

If you opt to use PayPal for tax-deductible contributions for your project, we will provide an account and give you the link for use in email and online.  You will receive the donations less the paypal and the Tarbuton administrative fee in a disbursement on a schedule agreed upon in our agreement. Generally payments will be made two weeks after receiving funds.  Since we write checks twice a month, please allow up to two weeks to receive your funds.  You will provide the SS # or EIN # for the individual or business receiving the funds. When promoting your project, we ask that you include our logo in your promotion, and the following statement:  “Fiscal sponsorship provided by Tarbuton.”

8. Do you give grants to startups?

Not directly. Tarbuton is a fiscal sponsor for emerging organizations and the projects pursue grants or donors directly. Though Tarbuton may develop programs which could include opportunities for projects to apply for seed funding as program prizes or awards.

9. Why do funders have more confidence in fiscally sponsored projects?

Fiscal sponsors, like the Tarbuton, help ensure funding has impact and measurable results. We work with entrepreneurs to help them do cost efficient nonprofit work and provide oversight that foundations expect in their grantees.

10. Why not give money directly to the person or organization doing the work?

If you can, you should!  Many donors are reluctant to support projects without tax exempt status.  Tarbuton’s fiscal sponsorship is about inspiring and supporting new nonprofit projects, helping founders pilot their programs with less concerns about administrative and back office work, and providing a tax exempt way for many public benefit projects who don’t yet have 501c3 status to receive philanthropic support for their worthy projects.  We hope this will result in incredible experimental initiatives and programs going from idea to reality and making San Diego a better place.

%d bloggers like this: