The UN Foundation operates through a Relationship Agreement with the United Nations, which was last renewed in 2014. The UN Foundation and the United Nations first entered into a Relationship Agreement in 1998, when the UN Foundation was established as an independent charitable organization to support the UN and UN causes in multiple ways. In addition to the most recent renewal, the agreement was also renewed in 2007.
The Relationship Agreement establishes the framework for interaction between the two organizations, noting their common interest to achieve the goals and objectives as laid out in the Charter of the United Nations. As a result of the structure of the Relationship Agreement, the Foundation has been able to leverage the original Turner gift of $1 billion and deliver more than $3 billion in total benefit to the UN and UN causes.
Every Relationship Agreement agreed between the UN and the UN Foundation has affirmed that:
- The UN Foundation works to support the UN and UN causes in these three ways: direct support to the UN in the form of grants; support for UN causes outside of the UN including through innovative public-private partnerships, and advocacy campaigns and activities; and conducting or supporting public engagement activities to support the UN.
- The Foundation works to support exclusively charitable United Nations causes, particularly to support goals and objectives of the United Nations in solving international problems of a developmental, humanitarian, and environmental character, both through its own resources and through mobilizing financial and in-kind support from other partners.
It provides that:
- The United Nations acknowledges the successful and important support that the Foundation has provided to the UN since 1998.
- The United Nations and the Foundation agree to work together to achieve the goals and objectives of the Charter of the United Nations through implementation of innovative, forward-looking, and proactive projects and activities that make contributions to the collective future and well-being of the planet.
- The United Nations and the Foundation agree to coordinate their activities as much as possible in meeting the objectives of their agreement.
- The United Nations Fund for International Partnerships (UNFIP) serves as a trust fund that receives grants exclusively from the Foundation for projects, campaigns, fiduciary grant-making or grant-management activities funded by the Foundation in accordance with the Agreement and with the Financial Regulations and Rules of the United Nations. (In 2020, an exception was agreed by the UN allowing the UN Foundation to make grants totaling $173m to the World Health Organization for its global COVID-19 response.)
- UNFIP is overseen by an Advisory Board, which is chaired by the UN Deputy Secretary-General. The UNFIP Advisory Board provides the Secretary-General with strategic advice arising from the activities of the United Nations and the Foundation. The UNFIP Advisory Board monitors the actions and activities of UNFIP. (In addition, the UN Foundation provides monthly updates to UNFIP of its activities in support of the UN and UN causes.)
- The UN Office for Partnerships (UNOP) serves as the administrative interface between the Foundation and the United Nations, the primary point of contact for the Foundation with the United Nations, and a central facility for facilitating or coordinating within the United Nations system.
- A UN-UNF Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) will act as the principal forum for strong communication and coordination on strategies to support the policies, aims, activities and causes of the United Nations. The JCC is co-chaired by the UN and UNF and meets twice a year.
- The JCC consults on concepts for campaigns, projects, activities and ongoing projects. This includes fiduciary grant-making and grant management, as well as consulting on any significant new funding of UN causes.
- Activities should address programmatic UN priorities and ensure geographic and cultural diversity in the delivery.
- Funding opportunities are prioritized jointly and coordinated through the JCC and UNOP.
- The United Nations and the Foundation agree to monitor, evaluate, and report on projects, campaigns, grant-making or grant management and other activities funded by the Foundation.
- The Foundation will keep the United Nations reasonably informed about any material activities affecting the United Nations, whether programmatic or reputational in nature, that are carried out by other entities affiliated with the operations and activities of the Foundation.
- The auditing of, and accounting by, the United Nations for any funds contributed by the Foundation are exclusively subject to the Financial Regulations and Rules of the UN or other rules and regulations established by the United Nations.
- The Foundation is authorized by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to use the name of the United Nations, including the abbreviation UN, but not the emblem of the United Nations.