Understanding the Family Foundation

If you are thinking of starting a family foundation – the latest trend among philanthropic families of means – then you may be conducting a bit of research to try and figure out whether such a foundation is right for your needs. To begin with, it is important to understand that not all private foundations are created equally. The “private operating foundation” directly engages in charitable activity; the “private non-operating foundation,” however, does not conduct charitable programs or services, but invests charitable funds (usually received from a single person, family, or corporation) and makes grants to other charities. To create a foundation, you need to establish a nonprofit entity – usually a corporation – in accordance with the laws in your state. The reason that most people prefer to use a corporation as the foundation’s entity is because of the liability limitations enjoyed by the officers and directors. Additionally, a foundation does not need to be creat


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