Purdue University

Giving to Purdue

University Development Office

Glossary of Terms


Section of the Internal Revenue Service code which defines nonprofit, charitable, tax-exempt organizations.


Financial report filed annually by a private or corporate foundation in accordance with federal and state tax laws. Items listed in the 990-PF include foundation assets, receipts, expenditures, compensation of officers, and grants.

Challenge or matching grant

This grant is paid if the recipient is able to raise a set amount of funding from other donors.

Executive summary (overview or abstract)

This is often the most important part of the application as it is the briefest and the most read. It includes the project title, contact person, organization name, and one-sentence statements about: the problem addressed, the project, outcomes, evaluation, and budget.

Letter of inquiry (LOI)

A brief, preliminary letter describing an organization and proposed grant request, usually sent prior to a full proposal. Download a template (Adobe Reader required). It's also known as letter of intent, LOI, concept paper, white paper, and pre-proposal.

Types of Foundations

Community foundation

These foundations build their endowments and/or donor-advised funds through contributions from multiple donors, often within a given geographic region. They support charitable activities focused primarily on the needs of an identified county, city, or state.

Corporate foundation

A corporate foundation is company sponsored, but considered a separate, legal organization subject to the same rules and regulations as other private foundations. The company-sponsored foundation often maintains close ties with the donor company and that company provides the funding for the foundation’s charitable giving.

Independent foundation

A grant-making organization usually classified by the IRS as a private foundation. Independent foundations may also be known as family foundations, general purpose foundations, special purpose foundations, or private non-operating foundations.

Operating foundation

A 501(c)(3) organization classified by the IRS as a private foundation whose primary purpose is to run programs such as conduct research. Operations are set by its governing body or establishment charter. An operating foundation may make grants, but most funds are used for the entity’s own operation.

Private foundation

A nongovernmental, nonprofit organization with funds (usually from a single source, either an individual, family, or corporation) and a program managed by its own trustees or directors that was established to maintain or aid educational, social, charitable, or other activities serving the common welfare, primarily by making grants to other nonprofit organizations. (Source: The Foundation Center)

Public charity

A nonprofit organization that qualifies for tax-exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS code. Public charities are the recipients of most foundation and corporate grants. Some public charities also make grants.

Why We Give
Impact of Giving