September 27, 2021

NYC Non-Profit Glossary

Reading Time:   10 mins

Thank you to Monisha Bhayana for developing this resource!

501(c)(3) ~ portion of the US Internal Revenue Code that allows for federal tax exemption of non-profit organizations, allowing for tax deductibility of donations[1]

501(c)(3) Organization ~ organization meeting the requirements of Section 501(c)(3) and therefore exempt from federal income tax; examples include charitable organizations, churches and religious organizations, and private foundations that operate exclusively for one of the following purposes: charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and preventing cruelty to children or animals[2]

AEP (Arts Education Partnership) ~ national network of more than 100 organizations dedicated to advancing arts education. Resource offerings include ArtScan (a database on state arts education policy) and ArtsEdSearch (resource hub for research on arts education)[3]

Annual Report ~ report informing the community about a non-profit organization and making the case for donations, typically highlighting the non-profit’s mission and impact, accomplishments of the past year, and vision for the future incorporating photos and financial reports[4]

Appeal ~ way in which non-profit organizations ask for financial support from donors; types of appeals can include general donation requests, online donations, and end-of-year appeals[5]

Arts & Cultural Education Services (ACES) Guide ~ guide designed by OASP to help school leaders, teachers, parents, and families learn about the education programs offered by NYC’s arts and cultural community, including a searchable list of organizations and their programming in the areas of dance, music, theatre, visual arts, film, and other general cultural experiences[6]

Board of Directors/Board Member ~ governing body of a non-profit; responsible for overseeing the organization’s activities[7] . Click here to see a list of the Roundtable’s Board of Directors.

Budget ~ planning document used to predict expenses and allocate resources; includes both the costs the organization is expected to incur and the income expected to be received for a set period of time[8]

Bylaws ~ primary document governing the operation of a non-profit organization; often includes the purpose of the organization, method for election of board members and creation of committees, guidelines for board meetings, and a dissolution clause[9]. Click here to view the Roundtable’s by-laws. 

Donor ~ individual or organization that provides financial support to a non-profit organization

EIN (Employer Identification Number) ~ nine-digit number assigned by the Internal Revenue Service; each IRS-designated tax-exempt non-profit organization has a unique EIN[10]

Executive Director ~ individual responsible for management of the non-profit, including day-to-day oversight of employees, operations, programming, and finances, acting as a liaison to the organization’s board of directors, and furthering of the non-profit’s mission in conjunction with the board of directors[11]

Fiduciary Duties ~ legal and ethical responsibilities of a non-profit organization’s board members; the board’s primary fiduciary duties are: the duty of care (ensuring prudent use of the organization’s assets), the duty of loyalty (acting in the best interest of the organization rather than in one’s own self-interest), and the duty of obedience (ensuring the organization obeys applicable laws and regulations and its bylaws and adheres to its mission)[12]

Financial Statements ~ reports that provide details on the financial information of the organization; the key financial statements for non-profit organizations are a statement of financial position (defined below), statement of activities (defined below), statement of cash flows (shows information about the flow of cash into and out of the organization), and statement of functional expenses (shows how expenses are incurred for each function of the organization)[13]

Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt from Income Tax ~ IRS form that some tax-exempt organizations, including charitable organizations, are required to submit to the Internal Revenue Service as part of annual reporting; intended to provide the government and the public a snapshot of the organization’s activities in a given year[14]

GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) ~ common set of accounting principles, standards, and procedures issued by the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB)[15]

Grant ~ an award of funds; restricted grants must be used for a particular purpose as a result of designated giving by a donor and unrestricted grants can be used for any legal purpose appropriate to the organization[16]

In-Kind Contributions ~ non-monetary donations, such as goods or services

LOI (Letter of Inquiry) ~ a brief proposal letter introducing a non-profit organization to a prospective funder prior to submitting a full grant proposal; should include a description of the non-profit organization and the proposed project, the amount of money requested, and how the project fits with the funder’s guidelines and funding interests[17]

Matching Gifts ~ programs that reward employees’ charitable donations wherein the employer makes a donation to an eligible non-profit organization when an employee makes such a donation; each company sets its own specifications for the terms of its matching program[18]

Mission Statement ~ a short statement of the organization’s purpose and goals. Click here to see the Roundtable’s mission.

MTAC (Multiple Task Award Contract) ~ process used by the NYC DOE to award contracts in which schools send proposal requests to a number of vendors and vendors respond by submitting a proposal according to criteria detailed in the MTAC, with the school selecting a vendor based on which proposal is the “best value”[19]

NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) ~ independent federal agency that funds, promotes, and strengthens the creative capacity of communities by providing all Americans with diverse opportunities for arts participation[20]

NPO (Non-Profit Organization) ~ a legal entity that has been granted tax-exempt status by the IRS because it furthers a social cause and provides a public benefit, rather than operating to generate a profit for its owners[21]

NYC DCLA (Department of Cultural Affairs) ~ department of the government of New York City dedicated to supporting NYC’s cultural life; largest municipal funder of culture in the United States with a commitment to providing access to art and culture for all New Yorkers[22]

NYC DOE (Department of Education) ~ department of the government of New York City that manages NYC’s public school system[23]

NYC DYCD (Department of Youth and Community Development) ~ department of the government of New York City that focuses on support of youth and families through a range of youth and community development programs and the administration of funds to community-based organizations[24]

NYCON (New York Council of Nonprofits, Inc.) ~ organization dedicated to helping New York non-profits build their capacity for growth and community impact; leading voice for the non-profit sector in matters of policy and advocacy[25]

NYSCA (New York State Council on the Arts) ~ organization dedicated to preserving and expanding NYC’s cultural resources, primarily through grant-making[26]

OASP (Office of Arts and Special Projects) ~ office within the Office of Curriculum Instruction and Professional Learning (CIPL) focused on providing public school students universal access to high-quality arts education by supporting arts educators, school leaders and students through curriculum development, professional development, partnerships with cultural organizations, and by providing professional platforms for students to share their work[27]

PETS System (Personnel Eligibility Tracking System) ~ NYC DOE web-based application designed to assist vendors, community-based organizations, and other groups authorized to use PETS to comply with applicable NY State Education Law and NYC DOE contracts; primary tasks are to initiate background checks, provide timely feedback on individuals working with or in close proximity to NYC DOE students, and advise of any changes to a person’s security clearance status[28]

Pledge ~ a promise to make future contributions to a non-profit organization

Private Funding ~ funding donated through private corporations or individuals; typically a less complex application process and fewer restrictions on how money can be spent than public grants but awards are typically for smaller amounts and may be difficult to find[29]

Public Funding ~ funding sponsored by a government agency or other publicly-recognized organization; grants are typically larger than private grants but typically have a more stringent application process and tighter regulations on how money can be spent[30]

RFP (Request for Proposal) ~ invitation used by grantmakers, both government entities and foundations, to invite proposals for grants which sets out all information that the organization seeking the grant must include in its proposal[31]

Statement of Activities ~ non-profit organization’s equivalent of an income statement; reports changes to an organization’s net assets in relation to the organization’s income and expenses for a particular fiscal year[32]

Statement of Financial Position ~ non-profit organization’s equivalent of a balance sheet; listing of an organization’s assets (what is owned) and liabilities (what is owed); snapshot of an organization’s financial situation[33]

Tax-Deductible Amount ~ the amount of a donor’s charitable contribution, less the value of what was received in exchange for the donation (if any); most non-profit organizations provide donors with a summary of the tax-deductible amount of their contributions[34]

Vendor ~ entity that makes goods or services available to companies or consumers[35]. Arts and cultural organizations that contract with the NYC Department of Education are also commonly referred to as vendors.


[1] Foundation Group, Inc. (n.d.). What is a 501(c)(3)? Foundation Group. https://www.501c3.org/what-is-a-501c3/#:%7E:text=Section%20501(c)(3,foundations%20or%20private%20operating%20foundations.

[2] Kagan, J. (2020, August 23). 501(c)(3) Organization. Investopedia. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/1/501c3-organizations.asp

[3] Who We Are. (n.d.). Arts Education Partnership. https://www.aep-arts.org/who-we-are/

[4] Nonprofit Annual Reports. (n.d.). National Council of Nonprofits. https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/tools-resources/nonprofit-annual-reports

[5] Kindful. (n.d.). What Is A Fundraising Appeal? https://kindful.com/nonprofit-glossary/fundraising-appeal/

[6] Arts & Cultural Education Services Guide. (n.d.). NYC Department of Education InfoHub. https://infohub.nyced.org/in-our-schools/programs/arts-education/arts-and-cultural-education-services#:~:text=Arts%20%26%20Cultural%20Education%20Services%20Guide&text=The%20ACES%20Guide%20is%20designed,rich%20arts%20and%20cultural%20community.  ACES Guide is accessible here: https://www.nycenet.edu/offices/teachlearn/arts/aces_guide/index.html

[7] McRay, G. (2014, December 11). A Nonprofit Board of Directors – What is a Board? Foundation Group. https://www.501c3.org/nonprofits-board-directors/

[8] Nonprofit Budgeting: Understand the Basics. (n.d.). Jitasa Group. https://www.jitasagroup.com/jitasa_nonprofit_blog/nonprofit-budgeting-understand-the-basics/

[9] Ibrisevic, I. (2019, March 18). Nonprofit Bylaws Made Easy: Tips and Best Practices. Donorbox Nonprofit Blog. https://donorbox.org/nonprofit-blog/nonprofit-bylaws-made-easy/#:%7E:text=Nonprofit%20bylaws%20are%20a%20nonprofit’s,when%20the%20organization%20is%20established.

[10] Topic No. 755 Employer Identification Number (EIN) – How to Apply. (n.d.). IRS. https://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc755#:%7E:text=An%20employer%20identification%20number%20(EIN,file%20various%20business%20tax%20returns.

[11] Carter, E. (2019, June 7). The Roles of The Board and Executive Director in a Strong Non-Profit. Charity Lawyer. https://charitylawyerblog.com/2019/06/07/the-roles-of-the-board-and-executive-director-in-a-strong-non-profit/

[12] Board Roles and Responsibilities. (n.d.). National Council of Nonprofits. https://www.councilofnonprofits.org/tools-resources/board-roles-and-responsibilities

[13] Financial statements of nonprofits. (2021, January 13). AccountingTools. https://www.accountingtools.com/articles/financial-statements-of-nonprofits.html

[14] Weltman, B. (2021, February 12). Form 990: Return of Organization Exempt From Income Tax. Investopedia. https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/083115/purpose-irs-form-990.asp

[15] Fernando, J. (2021, February 22). Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Investopedia. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/g/gaap.asp

[16] McRay, G. (2018, December 7). Nonprofit Restricted Funds. Foundation Group. https://www.501c3.org/kb/what-are-restricted-funds/

[17] Fritz, J. (2018, December 10). Learn How to Write a Proper Letter of Inquiry to a Foundation. The Balance Small Business. https://www.thebalancesmb.com/how-to-write-a-letter-of-inquiry-loi-to-a-foundation-2501958

[18] Weinger, A. (2018, May 10). Matching Gifts: The Nonprofit’s Guide to Raising More Money. America’s Charities. https://www.charities.org/news/blog/matching-gifts-nonprofits-guide-raising-more-money

[19] Multiple Task Award Contract. (n.d.). NYC Department of Education InfoHub. https://infohub.nyced.org/working-with-the-doe/vendors/multiple-task-award-contract

[20] National Endowment for the Arts Home Page. (n.d.). National Endowment for the Arts. https://www.arts.gov/

[21] Kenton, W. (2020, April 29). Nonprofit Organization (NPO). Investopedia. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/n/non-profitorganization.asp

[22] Department of Cultural Affairs. (n.d.). NYC Cultural Affairs. https://www1.nyc.gov/site/dcla/index.page

[23] New York City Department of Education. (n.d.). New York City Department of Education. https://www.schools.nyc.gov/

[24] NYC Department of Youth & Community Development. (n.d.). NYC Department of Youth & Community Development. https://www1.nyc.gov/site/dycd/index.page

[25] New York Council of Nonprofits. (n.d.). New York Council of Nonprofits. https://www.nycon.org/

[26] About NYSCA. (n.d.). New York State Council on the Arts. https://arts.ny.gov/our-mission

[27] About OASP. (n.d.). NYC Department of Education. https://www.nycenet.edu/offices/teachlearn/arts/about.html

[28] PETS Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). (2015, July). Parent Advocates.Org. http://parentadvocates.org/nicemedia/documents/PETS_FAQ_ver2.pdf

[29] Malesky, M. (2017, September 26). The Difference Between Public Vs. Private Grant Funding. Bizfluent. https://bizfluent.com/info-8106227-do-nonprofit-organizations-receive-funding.html

[30] Malesky, M. (2017, September 26). The Difference Between Public Vs. Private Grant Funding. Bizfluent. https://bizfluent.com/info-8106227-do-nonprofit-organizations-receive-funding.html

[31] What is a Request for Proposal (RFP)? (2004, October 1). Grantcraft. https://grantcraft.org/content/takeaways/what-is-a-request-for-proposal-rfp/

[32] GrowthForce. (n.d.). Bookkeeping: Non-Profit vs. For-Profit Financial Statements. https://www.growthforce.com/blog/4957/general/financial-statements/

[33] Balance Sheet Cheat Sheet. (n.d.). Propel Nonprofits. https://www.propelnonprofits.org/resources/balance-sheet-cheat-sheet/

[34] TurboTax Blog Team. (2020, September 19). Charitable Giving and Your Taxes. The TurboTax Blog. https://blog.turbotax.intuit.com/tax-deductions-and-credits-2/charitable-giving-and-your-taxes-7604/

[35] Grant, M. (2020, January 31). Vendor. Investopedia. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/v/vendor.asp