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Can churches qualify for Google Ad Grants?

p w
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# 1
p w
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Can a church in the US  qualify for Google Ad Grants?  It appears that we can, but I've seen that Google stance on that has changed a couple of times. We are a 501c3 listed on Guidestar.


I see a reference to nondiscrimination policy and donation use. Where is the policy spelled out? I can only find references to the policy.   I think we'd meet the guideline lines, but obviously we would hire church leaders of the same faith.



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Re: Can churches qualify for Google Ad Grants?

Top Contributor
# 2
Top Contributor

Hi p w,

Yes, churches can qualify for the Google Ad grants program. In fact there are several churches and faith-based nonprofits in the program.


Regarding the policy on discrimination. It is on the application page where you certify that:

  • My organization is a registered and recognized 501(c)(3) in the United States.
  • My organization does not discriminate on any unlawful basis in either hiring/employment practices or in the administration of programs and services.
  • My organization does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in hiring/employment practices.
  • My organization may receive this donation under its own policy and applicable laws and regulations; this donation will not negatively impact Google's current or future ability to do business with my organization; and this donation will not be used to corruptly influence any government official to obtain or retain business or any improper advantage.

If you are able to certify the above and if your organization meets all other eligibility requirements, you are encouraged to apply.

Re: Can churches qualify for Google Ad Grants?

p w
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# 3
p w
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Thank you! I'm not trying to stir a religious debate, but I do want to make sure I understand. So if the church's official hiring practices are non-discriminatory, the church would qualify? If a church is Religion X and would hire a staff member who is LGBT of Religion Y, but is not required under US law to hire a clergy member ordained outside of Religion X, then would that church qualify?

Re: Can churches qualify for Google Ad Grants?

Top Contributor
# 4
Top Contributor
p w,
Respectfully, I will not answer specific scenario questions in regards to the certifying questions because I do not want any readers to misinterpret my responses in regards to the policy.

I will say that if you feel that your scenario above would allow you to certify yes to all of the certification questions, then you are highly encouraged to apply.

After all, the application process is very short and very straight forward.

Re: Can churches qualify for Google Ad Grants?

[ Edited ]
p w
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# 5
p w
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Thanks, Robert. I appreciate your response. Probably a tough question to answer.  It's a little tricky to understand. 

Didn't want to get any hopes up or waste anyone's time if we wouldn't be approved.

Have a good weekend!

Re: Can churches qualify for Google Ad Grants?

[ Edited ]
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# 6
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Google’s Discriminatory Practices for Ad Grants for Churches

December 1, 2014UncategorizedGoogle discrimination against church


Thank you for applying to the Google for Nonprofits program.

We regret to inform you that your application for your church has
not been approved. We were unable to verify the charity status of your
nonprofit organization. In order to qualify for the Google for Nonprofits
program, your organization must be listed in the Internal Revenue Service’s
online searchable database of charitable organizations.

If your organization is in the process of registering for charity status, we encourage you to
resubmit your current application after you receive your nonprofit status.

Please note that Google reserves the right to award approval status to any
organization. Selections are made at Google’s sole discretion and decisions
regarding award recipients are final.

Thank you for your interest in the Google for Nonprofits program.


The Google for Nonprofits Team

Our church, Solomon’s Temple of Christ was turned down for the nonprofit Ad Grants because we are NOT a government church. We are a registered church nonprofit Corporation and the church has a Federal EIN number; but we have NOT signed up to become a Federal Church, but have remained a “Free Church.” Most churches and most individuals and corporations have the misconception that like other nonprofits they must become registered with the federal government as a 501-(c)3 nonprofit, but churches are NOT required to do so. Churches are automatically tax exempt. The separation of church and state as per the 1st Amendment applies in this situation. To become a government church would violate our religious beliefs.

501(c) (3) NOT Required for Churches

The separation of church and state law stands; the first amendment to the US Constitution states “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

According to IRS Code § 508(c) (1) (A):

Special rules with respect to section 501(c) (3) organizations. (a)New organizations must notify secretary that they are applying for recognition of section 501(c) (3) status. (c) Exceptions. (1) Mandatory exceptions. Subsections (a) and (b) shall not apply to (A) churches, their integrated auxiliaries, and conventions or associations of churches.

This is referred to as the “mandatory exception” rule. Thus, we see from the IRS’ own publications, and the tax code, that it is completely unnecessary for any church to apply for tax-exempt status. In the IRS’ own words a church “is automatically tax-exempt.” Thus tithes, donations, and offerings to churches without “501(c) (3) status” are “tax deductible and non-revocable.”

The above information about churches automatic tax exemption can be found on the IRS’s website.

The Liberty Counsel said that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has officially reported that it is not auditing churches because it does not have the authority to take away churches’ tax-free status.

“Churches are tax-exempt inherently,” said Mat Staver. “They don’t need a letter from the IRS to be tax exempt, so their tax-exempt status cannot be taken away by the IRS.”

Attorney Marcus Owens, a former head of the IRS’ tax-exempt division and a member of the law firm of Caplin & Drysdale in Washington, D.C., says that 501(c) (3) tax-exempt filing is not required; we called him; he explained to us that churches are automatically exempt from taxation, and that a 501(c) (3) tax-exempt filing with the IRS is NOT required for churches.

Attorney Marcus Owen’s Telephone: <edited by a Community Manager as noted below>

Thus, many churches are revoking their 501(c) (3) tax-exempt status so as not to be government church but rather a church of God.

Note: Filing with the government for a 501(c) (3) would also violate our churches religious beliefs.

We feel that at this time Google has taken discriminatory action against our church for NOT becoming a government church. The discrimination is apparently because of NOT being signed up to be government regulated church. We certainly hope that Google is not discriminating against our church for our liberal position concerning sexual orientation.

We are praying that we can get this issue resolved with Google as soon as possible.

We are a church that stands up in defending against discrimination to the individual for his or her sexual orientation. Google has publicly announced they fight against discriminatory practices against persons for their sexual orientation. But as of today, we feel that Google is discriminating against our church for fighting for a world where our church wants to see LOVE prevail, and where everyone receives fair and equal treatment no matter what their sexual orientation happens to be.

It is an uphill battle as most churches today DO discriminate against gays and other members of the LGBT community as well as people with other sexual orientations.

Solomon’s Temple of Christ welcomes all to worship with us. Gays and the LGBT community are NOT considered sinners to be tolerated at church, but they are equal children of God and dearly loved and equal to all of God’s children.

Solomon’s Temple of Christ

<email, address and phone edited by a Community Manager as noted below>



NOTE: This post has been edited by a Community Manager in order to remove personal information. This is done, per our Community Posting Guidelines, in order to protect privacy and/or account security.

Re: Can churches qualify for Google Ad Grants?

Top Contributor
# 7
Top Contributor
Gerald A,
I regret that you feel that Google has "Discriminatory Practices for Ad Grants for Churches". I assure you, however, that they they do not.

In fact, a wide variety of churches participate in the Google For Nonprofit and Google Ad Grants program.

Google has eligibility guidelines that ALL nonprofit organizations must meet. Organizations, such as churches, that are automatically considered tax-exempt must still obtain recognition of 501(c)(3) tax exemption from the IRS to qualify for the Google for Nonprofits program.

You can read more about the eligibility guidelines here: