August 14, 2015 Information About the James Madison Council at the Library of Congress

Contact: Gayle Osterberg, Director of Communications (202) 707-0020

What is the James Madison Council?

The James Madison Council (JMC) is a group of private-sector individuals who are the Library’s lead donor group. Launched in 1990, this group is instrumental in helping the Library share its unparalleled resources with the nation and the world.

When and why was the JMC created?

The JMC was approved by the Joint Committee on the Library of Congress on October 7, 1988. The Committee adopted the Librarian of Congress James H. Billington’s proposal to seek a group of private citizens to form a national advisory body that would provide financial support and assist in developing the support of others for those key Library of Congress initiatives for which gift and trust funds would be appropriate. One of the purposes of the Council is to fund the fundraising operations for the Library.

Is it a 501(c)(3) organization? What authority does the Library have to accept monetary donations?

The Library has statutory authority to accept donations under 2 U.S.C. 156 and 160 (among other statutes). As an agency of the United States, donations to the Library are considered charitable contributions under the Internal Revenue Code. The reference is 26 U.S.C. 170(c)(1). Donations from the individuals who are members of the JMC are donations to the Library.

Who is on the James Madison Council?

Members of the James Madison Council are listed on the Library’s web site here.

What are the membership requirements? How does someone become a council member?

The Council is open to individuals from the private sector who wish to further illuminate and advance the Library’s mission. The minimum annual membership contribution is $25,000.

What is the Library’s overhead for fundraising?

The Library’s audited fiscal year 2014 Financial Statement reports $10.8 million raised. The Library’s fiscal year 2014 Trust Fund Board report lists expenses of less than $800,000 for fundraising operations throughout the Library. One of the purposes of the JMC is to fund the fundraising operations for the Library.

Who decides how donations are spent?

As with all Library gift and trust funds, all decisions about expenditures from the James Madison Council Trust Fund are made by Library personnel.

Donations accepted by the Librarian (under 2 U.S.C. 160) and those accepted by the Library of Congress Trust Fund Board (under 2 U.S.C. 156) must be for “the Library, its collections or its service.” Once the government accepts the funds, they are deposited in the Treasury and are subject to the control of the Librarian. The Treasury account to which the donated funds are credited (per 2 U.S.C. 157 and 160 and 31 U.S.C. 1321 (a)(8)) is a government account and the funds are public funds.

Does the JMC support basic costs of operating the Library, like storage and staff?

The JMC supports key Library of Congress initiatives as determined by the Librarian of Congress. The Council’s fundraising efforts were never intended as a substitute for core budget responsibilities like staff and storage, which appropriately reside with the federal government in fulfillment of the mission delegated to the institution. Rather, these donations have enhanced the incredible national collection and enabled greater access to it.

Where can I find financial information about the Library’s gift and trust funds?

Financial information about all gift and trust funds, including the James Madison Council Trust Fund, can be found here in the Library’s Financial Statements. Additional trust fund information is available in the Library trust fund reports.

How much has been raised for the Library from James Madison Council members?

Members of the James Madison Council have contributed nearly $220 million to the Library since its inception. In addition, members have helped secure funding for Library initiatives from other individual, corporate and foundation donors.

Does the Library disclose specific donations?

The Library has the highest respect and appreciation for its donors and does not provide detailed gift information. Cumulative information is available in our financial reports and the Library recognizes donors in various ways, such as in press releases or articles in the Library of Congress Magazine or the Madison Council Bulletin, when they are interested in us doing so.


PR 15-144
ISSN 0731-3527