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Why Doesn't CharityWatch Rate the Trump Foundation?

   Sep 19, 2016

Updated on November 7, 2019, December 19, 2018, and June 15, 2018

The Donald J. Trump Foundation is not eligible to be rated by CharityWatch because it is structured as a private foundation. CharityWatch primarily rates public charities, as well as some social welfare and veterans organizations that broadly solicit the public for donations.

The governing board of the Trump Foundation consists of Trump family members and an employee of The Trump Organization (Trump’s for-profit business conglomerate) that control the Foundation’s grant-making activities, as is typical for private foundations. This differs from public charities whose operations usually are directed by independent boards with no or few related parities. For more on the differences between private foundations and public charities, visit the IRS’s website.

Private foundations are required to file publicly available annual tax filings with the IRS. The IRS Form 990-PF filings for the Trump Foundation can be found via the Foundation Center or ProPublica.


On November 7th, 2019, the Attorney General of New York announced that the New York Supreme Court ordered Donald J. Trump to pay $2 million in damages for improperly using charitable assets to intervene in the 2016 presidential primaries and further his own political interests. The settlement of the lawsuit against the Donald J. Trump Foundation and its directors, Mr. Trump, Donald Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump, also includes multiple stipulations with the defendants to resolve the remaining claims. For more, please see: AG James Secures Court Order Against Donald J. Trump, Trump Children, And Trump Foundation.

On December 18th, 2018, the Attorney General of New York announced that the Trump Foundation has signed a stipulation agreeing to dissolve under judicial supervision. Per the stipulation terms, the Foundation can only distribute its remaining charitable assets to organizations approved by the NY AG's office (OAG). A statement released by the NY AG calls the stipulation "an important victory for the rule of law" and notes that the stipulation "accomplishes a key piece of the relief sought in our lawsuit earlier this year." The OAG's lawsuit (see below) will continue to move forward "to ensure that the Trump Foundation and its directors are held to account for their clear and repeated violations of state and federal law," according to the statement. For more, please see: A.G. Underwood Announces Stipulation Dissolving Trump Foundation Under Judicial Supervision, With AG Review Of Recipient Charities.

On June 14th, 2018, the Attorney General of New York announced a lawsuit against the Donald J. Trump Foundation, and its directors, Donald J. Trump, Donald J. Trump, Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump. According to the press release, the suit alleges "a pattern of persistent illegal conduct...that includes extensive unlawful political coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing transactions to benefit Mr. Trump's personal and business interests, and violations of basic legal obligations for non-profit foundations." The lawsuit seeks restitution of $2.8 million plus penalties. For more, please see: Attorney General Underwood Announces Lawsuit Against Donald J. Trump Foundation And Its Board of Directors For Extensive And Persistent Violations Of State And Federal Law.