About Fiscal Sponsorship

The Gotham Fiscal Sponsorship program is expecting delays  due to the coronavirus and staff working remotely. 

Urgent queries will be answered, but you should expect delays. 

New address: 

The Gotham Film and Media Institute (Fiscal Sponsorship)
55 Washington Street, Suite 324
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Checks are still payable to: Independent Feature Project inc.

Application Form

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Projects fiscally sponsored by The Gotham (formerly The Gotham) gain access to foundation and government funding and give donors the incentive of a charitable deduction for income tax purposes.

What is Fiscal Sponsorship?

Many individuals, foundations, corporations, or government organizations restrict funding of independent projects to tax-exempt organizations, such as The Gotham. The Fiscal Sponsorship program is a legal and financial mechanism by which The Gotham, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, serves as a conduit for financial resources and provides some support and oversight for independently produced film projects.

Projects Fiscally Sponsored by The Gotham are able to give donors the incentive of a charitable deduction for income tax purposes, a service individual filmmakers could not otherwise offer. It also enables filmmakers the ability to access foundation and government grant funding that may only be accessible to non-profit organizations or fiscally sponsored projects.

The Gotham’s Fiscal Sponsorship program also offers financial and administrative support, competitive administrative fees, and the reliability of working with an established filmmaker support organization.

Why The Gotham?

The Gotham is dedicated to support independent filmmakers with the strategic planning and releasing of their film projects. We are accomplishing this with our signature programs, such as the The Gotham Project Forum, The Gotham Week, and the Gotham Filmmaker Labs, which all focus on ways to find funding and establish partnerships. The Fiscal Sponsorship program complement our programs and gives independent filmmakers access to all-important grants to secure funding.

With over 40 years of experience in the independent film industry, we offer our services exclusively for creative, artistic, and/or educational film, video, and transmedia projects. Our history of working with quality, hardworking independent filmmakers gives grantors additional confidence in our projects. Granting organizations carefully examine institutional factors before awarding grants, including whether your project has community support.

No Deadline
Applications are reviewed and accepted year-round.

Competitive Fees
The Gotham’s fees are among the lowest in the industry. Our sliding scale means the more you raise, the lower the fee.

Online Profile
Approved projects will have a public profile where additional donors can review project information and make a donation by credit card.

Fiscal Sponsorship Portal
Fiscally Sponsored Projects have an online administrative site to view their account balance and donation history.

Free Entry to The Gotham Curated Programs
Eligible Works-in-Progress and Screenplays receive an entry fee waiver (worth $50) for The Gotham’s curated programs – Gotham Week and The Gotham Labs – both vital first-look industry forums for unfinished film projects seeking funding and distribution.

 

 

THE GOTHAM ORGANIZATION BENEFITS

The Gotham Network
The Gotham fosters a vibrant and sustainable independent storytelling community, represents a growing network of 10,000 storytellers around the world, and plays a key role in developing 350 new feature and documentary works each year.

Free The Gotham Membership Events
Monthly free programs such as previews, special screenings with Q&A, talks and more…

Filmmaker Magazine subscription
Complementary subscription to Filmmaker Magazine, a quarterly publication magazine covering issues relating to independent film.

Discount
20% off of all workshops and events at the Made in NY Media Center by The Gotham.

Promotion
The Gotham promotes the work of members taking part in our programs by running ads in festival and trade publications to promote visibility, should you screen at Berlin, Rotterdam, Sundance, Slamdance or Tribeca. Additionally, we mention your release in our newsletter should you premiere in one of the major festivals or have a theatrical release in NYC.

Since 1979, our programs have helped 30,000 members progress from concept to production to eventual distribution

 

 

How to Contribute
You may contribute to any live campaign by clicking on the “Make a Contribution” button. You’ll be able to enter how much you want to contribute and choose how you want to pay with Visa, MasterCard, and American Express credit or debit cards, or PayPal. All transactions take place in $USD.  Upon receipt you will be sent a donor acknowledgement letter which you can use for federal tax deduction purposes.

  • All Credit Card donations incur an additional 3% (Visa, Mastercard, American Express fee).
  • Credit Card donations will show up on your statement as “The Gotham Fiscal Sponsorship.”

Your Information is Secure
We’re committed to your safety and security. We have safeguards in place to secure the information we collect online, prevent unauthorized access or disclosure, maintain data accuracy, and ensure the appropriate use of information. 

Is my contribution amount publicly displayed?
No. Only you and the project creator will be able to see your contribution amount.

Check Donations
Checks should be made out to ‘The Gotham Fiscal Sponsorship’ with your project name in the memo field. All check donations must be accompanied by a Donor Contribution Form completed with the donor’s contact  information and signature. The Gotham will not deposit checks without the Donor form. Contact the project creator should you need a donor form. The Gotham cannot accept check donations made out to other entities. All Check donations, and their accompanying Donor Contribution forms, should be mailed together to:

The Gotham Fiscal Sponsorship
55 Washington Street, Suite 324 
Brooklyn, NY 11201 

Matching Gifts
Many businesses offer an Employee Matching Gift program, which matches a charitable donation made by an employee with a corporate donation to the same charity. Gift checks usually take anywhere from 3-9 months to arrive once the paperwork has been submitted to the corporation. Usually, the donor must initiate this matching gift with their employer. In almost all cases, the donor and the charity (in this case, The Gotham) must complete some paperwork to process a gift of this kind. Projects should not complete any sections of the matching gift paperwork. Matching gift paperwork should be sent to Rose Vincelli completion.

What happens if there are problems with a donation?
If a donor’s check is returned by our bank for any reason, or a credit card payment is declined, we will alert you to the situation and immediately reduce your fund balance to reflect the net change. If a replacement donation is received from the donor, it can be processed into your fund at that time. It is your responsibility to contact the donor and request are placement donation.

The Gotham only accepts credit card, check, or certificate of stock donations. No in-kind donations will be accepted by The Gotham.  The Gotham sends each donor a thank-you letter which acknowledges their tax-deductible donation.  It takes up to 5 business days for funds up to $10,000 to clear into the account and become available to filmmakers; donations of $10,000 or more may take up to 10 business days. Filmmakers (primary contact only) receive email notification of donations when the donation has cleared into your account.

 

 

FAQ

All projects participating in Fiscal Sponsorship must fit within our organizational guidelines. In addition, contributions to a 501(c)(3) are deductible for Federal income tax purposes to the extent allowed by law.

What is Fiscal Sponsorship?
Fiscal Sponsorship is a contractual relationship in which a 501(c)(3) organization, such as The Gotham, agrees to sponsor a project for the purpose of fundraising through grants and donations. This program allows a project that lacks tax-exempt status to seek grants and tax-deductible donations, with The Gotham overseeing the process and following IRS regulations. Many individual donors, foundations and corporate funders will only donate to an established 501(c)(3) organization.

What is a 501(c)(3) organization?
A 501(c)(3) organization, commonly called a charitable organization, must be organized and operated exclusively for exempt purposes set forth in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and none of its earnings may inure to any private shareholder or individual. The organization may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates. All projects participating in Fiscal Sponsorship must fit within our organizational mission. In addition, contributions to a 501(c)(3) are deductible for Federal income tax purposes to the extent allowed by law.

Does fiscal sponsorship allow the project to be absolved from tax reporting?
No. Contributions received and disbursed by The Gotham will likely be treated as income by the IRS. The Gotham will issue Form 1099-MISC for total payments over $600 during the calendar year to each project, except if the project is a corporation. An LLC is treated as a partnership, except if The Gotham has received certain written notification from the LLC stating that each member of the LLC is a corporation. Consult a tax advisor to determine your specific liability.

Why does the Fiscal Sponsorship Program have an application process?
The Gotham must insure project activities are conducted according to IRS regulations and must establish discretion and control over the project’s contributions received. Furthermore, we need to know if the project fits the The Gotham mission and guidelines to be a legitimate sponsor for the project. Once the application is approved, a sponsorship agreement needs to be signed by the project’s representative and The Gotham to start the relationship.

Why does The Gotham need to establish discretion and control over a sponsored project?
A donor makes a contribution to The Gotham with the recommendation that The Gotham grant this donation to a certain project while also monitoring that their funds are used to produce the film/work and that all tax-reporting requirements are met. A project needs to send The Gotham their receipts to demonstrate that the money is being spent on creating their work. Only through this system the IRS will approve the donation as tax-deductible.

Once I am fiscally sponsored, have I become a non-profit?
No. Being sponsored at The Gotham does not make the project or production company a tax-exempt organization.

Does The Gotham Fiscal Sponsorship process in-kind contributions?
The Gotham Fiscal Sponsorship is not able to accept or grant a charitable gift letter for in-kind contributions, such as donations of goods or equipment.

Does the project retain its own legal identity if it has a fiscal sponsor?
Yes. Your project is a separate legal entity and not part of The Gotham. You retain creative control, ownership, and responsibility for tax reporting and liability.

What is the difference between corporate sponsorship and fiscal sponsorship?
Corporate sponsorship consists of support, usually in the form of money or materials, given directly to the project. Often corporate sponsors expect something in return, such as advertising or publicity. However, many corporations also maintain philanthropic programs that donate to tax-exempt charitable organizations.  These programs will not provide funds to a non-exempt filmmaking project but may donate to the project through a fiscal sponsorship program. A project selected for fiscal sponsorship is able to solicit tax-deductible contributions from these foundations, corporations, or government organizations.

Why is there an administrative fee?
The fee covers the cost we have for maintaining the Fiscal Sponsorship website and staff time to administrate the program.

 

Application Requirments

Eligibility

To be considered, your project must be considered a “non-commercial” work (able to be financed by personal funds, donations, grants, corporate sponsorship, in-kind donations, etc. but NOT by offering investment for profit) and should fall into any of the following categories:

  • Documentary films and other works of nonfiction.
  • Low-budget fiction/narrative features (50 minutes+) that are either:
    …a) able to be fully financed by donations and grants alone (generally projects under $3million); or,
    …b) fundraising only for a discrete portion of the project’s budget (usually development)
  • Short films* (fiction, documentary, experimental);
  • Transmedia/multi-media/VR/web-based projects with film/video/electronic media as a primary component of the work.

Please note: you need to have an American Social Security Number (SSN) or American Employer Identification Number (EIN) to be eligible for this program. 

Selection criteria
We select artistic works that fit the The Gotham mission and present a clear and professional written project proposal and budget. This program is specifically designed for our members to support them to finding funding for their projects and we want to support as many creators as possible.

We do find it important that applicants understand how Fiscal Sponsorship works. Therefore, it needs to be clear in the “fundraising strategy” section how Fiscal Sponsorship will help you to find funding for your project.

*Projects with a budget under $15,000 to be raised with Fiscal Sponsorship need to have one (1) donation or grant lined up that require a fiscal sponsor.

Application Fee ($50) + Membership ($100/year)

Application fee is $50 per project. Fee is payable online by credit card only during the application process. The Gotham Membership is required once accepted into the program ($100/year) and must be maintained throughout the life of the fiscal sponsorship account. You just need one active membership for all the projects you are working on. Check out the benefits.

 

 

 

 

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The Gotham Film & Media Institute is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to finding, developing and celebrating the people and projects that shape the future of story.

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