Frequently Asked Questions
How is the Smithsonian Institution funded?
Federal appropriations cover about 70 cents of every dollar needed by the Smithsonian. Federal support conserves the Smithsonian’s national collections, sustains basic research, educates the public, operates, maintains, and protects the large Smithsonian museum and research complex, and provides other administrative and support services. Private philanthropy bridges the gap between the Federal resources the Smithsonian receives and what it needs to carry out innovative research, expand its national collections, build new facilities, open truly 21st-century exhibitions and expand educational outreach to school-aged children.
Is it possible to give to the Smithsonian through the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC)?
Yes! The Smithsonian's CFC number is 10782.
Does the Smithsonian have an endowment that supports all of its activities?
The Smithsonian’s endowment is not yet large enough to support the Institution’s entire annual budget. We are working to increase our endowment in support of key research and curatorial positions. For information about giving to the endowment, please contact the Smithsonian’s advancement professionals.
What inspires people to give to the Smithsonian?
Donors’ stories give some insights into how different gifts have made a difference. The Smithsonian annual report provides a good summary of the activities for the year, and includes many examples of projects and programs that have inspired gifts. Read the Annual Report.
How does the Smithsonian fund advancement?
The Smithsonian currently uses sources such as revenue from retail operations, membership, unrestricted giving, and special events to fund advancement. The Smithsonian also directs a small percentage of term gifts to advance the fundraising capacity of its museums and programs, and more effectively steward gifts. Read Resourcing the Strategic Plan
I am interested in giving to one of the Smithsonian's museums, research centers and programs. How can I get in touch with the right person?
Most Smithsonian museums and research programs have fundraising professionals who can answer your questions and who are available to work with you. Contact Smithsonian Advancement Staff.
Is my gift tax-deductible?
Gifts to the Smithsonian are tax-deductible under Section 170(c) of the U.S. Internal Revenue Code, in accordance with IRS regulations. The Smithsonian provides written acknowledgment of all charitable donations.
I would like to make a gift in memory of a loved one. Is there a way that I can do this?
Yes, click here to find out how to make a memorial or honor gift.
Can I make my gift anonymously?
Certainly! Please indicate your wish to remain anonymous in written correspondence accompanying your gift. All donors of $2,000 or more are listed in the Smithsonian’s annual report. A confirmation of how you would like your name to appear is mailed to each donor in advance of the report’s publication.
How can I make a stock gift?
To make a gift of publicly traded securities to the Smithsonian, contact a Smithsonian advancement officer and provide the name of your broker, the name of the stock and the number of shares you would like to contribute. The advancement officer will advise you on the procedure for completing the gift.
For gifts of closely held stock or controlled stock, please consult with your financial advisor and contact the Office of Advancement for further information.
How will my personal information be used?
On occasion, some Smithsonian programs may rent or exchange select member name and address information with other similar non-profit organizations. While you will frequently be provided an opportunity to opt-out, you may also request at any time that the Smithsonian not share information with such third parties.
I would like to rent the Smithsonian’s facilities for an event. Can you help me?
The Smithsonian does not rent its facilities to the public. Corporate members and organizations may be invited by the Smithsonian to co-host events in celebration of their contribution.
I have a question about my Smithsonian magazine. Whom should I call?
In the U.S. and Canada, call toll-free 1-800-766-2149