By the end of 2008, more than three years’ work by numerous DAMA board members and volunteers will culminate in the grand opening of the DAMA International Education and Research Foundation (DAMA Foundation). You may have heard about this and wondered why DAMA was forming a Foundation, or what the difference was between DAMA International and the Foundation. The authors have pulled together this list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) to answer these and other important questions you might have. Please contact John at firstname.lastname@example.org or Deborah at email@example.com with other questions you might have that aren’t addressed here:
Q: Why was the DAMA Foundation created? What does DAMA International need a foundation for?
A: DAMA International is chartered as a not-for-profit professional association. According to U.S. Internal Revenue Service rules, donations to DAMA International are not tax deductible. In order to attract donations for work in the data management field that would convey these tax benefits (to U.S. donors), the DAMA Foundation was created as a 501(c)(3) organization. As such, donations to the DAMA Foundation are tax deductible by U.S. donors, and this provides an attractive option for donors who want to support research and education in data management.
Q: What is the purpose of the DAMA Foundation? What will it do?
A: This purpose and work of the DAMA Foundation are well summarized in its by-laws:
“The Foundation is organized, and shall be operated, for the following exclusively educational and research purposes:
- To provide financial assistance for education and research in the data management field and the value of data management, including graduate and post-graduate academic work.
- Funding efforts in the establishment of data management curricula within educational facilities at all levels, including universities, undergraduate, graduate, secondary and vocational schools.”
Q: Will the DAMA Foundation be vendor-neutral, like DAMA International?
A: Absolutely! This is a core organizational value for DAMA. To us, vendor-neutral means “open to all.” While we will not endorse any product or vendor, the DAMA Foundation welcomes grants and donations from any vendor to further research in data management topics and profession. We will recognize the donors in various ways, including attributing work made possible through donations from a specific donor. We want to recognize vendors who, like us, are committed to growing the data management profession.
Q: Why did it take so long to get the DAMA Foundation started?
A: There are many different types of foundations, with different goals and objectives. Sorting through our vision for a DAMA Foundation took time. Once that was set, creating the DAMA Foundation was fairly quick. The major obstacle has been the subsequent filing for not-for-profit status with the U.S. government. The application consists of set of essay questions that examines all aspects of the foundation and the organization with which it is affiliated. Our application required several reviews by our attorney and CPA, ending up more than 200 pages long!
Q: Where will the DAMA Foundation get its money and donations from?
A: We are currently developing our market development plan that will describe what we intend to do and who we intend to target. DAMA Foundation Vice Presidents are studying other foundations and getting advice on how to approach potential sponsors and through what channels.
Q: How will the grants and donations be placed?
A: DAMA International and DAMA Foundation have agreed to form new committee, the DAMA Joint Steering Committee, to be charged with selecting which projects will be funded by Foundation grants and donations. This committee consists of two members from the DAMA International Board of Directors and two members from Foundation Board of Directors. It is set to convene at least annually to set research priorities through grant and gifts consistent with the DAMA Foundation mission. DAMA Foundation will monitor the grantees and report as necessary to DAMA Foundation, DAMA International and to other interested parties including the IRS.
Q: What are the restrictions on the donations to the DAMA Foundation? How will they be used?
A: In the post Enron and WorldCom world, the U.S. government closely monitors how foundations operate. Money donated to a foundation must be used in accordance with the donor’s wishes and within the foundation’s purpose. Annual reports to the U.S. government assure that a foundation spends a significant percentage of the money it receives and that it is spent appropriately. DAMA Foundation will operate under this governance.
Deborah and I hope you have found theseFAQs useful and informative. These are the main questions we could think of that DAMA members and others wanted to have answered. Please contact us with any follow-ups or other questions you have, and we will respond.