Nonprofits & Tax-Exempt Bonds

An Overlooked Financing Tool:
How Nonprofits Can Issue Tax-Exempt Bonds

Imagine you’re on the board of a nonprofit historical museum, women’s clinic, hospice, food bank, orchestra, or affordable housing organization. You and the CEO are looking at a much-needed $20 million expansion, purchase, or renovation. The prospect of a $20 million capital campaign is pretty daunting. But there is a financing tool you may have overlooked. If you issue a $10 million tax-exempt bond, your capital campaign need only raise $10 million. While still a challenge, a $10 million capital campaign looks a lot more do-able than $20 million.

This booklet is a short introduction to the ideas and processes of tax-exempt bonds for you and your nonprofit. A 20-page guide to Italy can help you decide whether you want to explore a trip there, but you’d want to read more and talk to others before getting on a plane. Similarly, this booklet can help you decide whether tax-exempt bonds are not after all right for you, or whether the idea is worth exploring further.

This guide is published by the California Association of Nonprofits (CalNonprofits) and was written by Paul Rosenstiel. Paul worked as a municipal bond investment banker in California for nearly 30 years and completed many transactions for nonprofits as well as for government agencies. From 2007-09, he served as Deputy Treasurer of the State of California where one of his primary responsibilities was overseeing the issuance of the State’s bonds. California State Treasurer John Chiang contributed the introduction.

"This is terrific! I like the Q&A format and straightforward, easy-to-understand answers.” 
— Mary Jo Schumann Ph.D., Director, Caster Family Center for Nonprofit & Philanthropic Research, School of Leadership and Education Sciences, University of San Diego

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