If you want to start a philanthropic tradition, a private foundation is a great option. This type of organization provides great flexibility and control over many aspects of giving. It is also a good way to introduce your children and grandchildren to philanthropy. However, there are a number of things to consider before setting up a foundation. You will need to decide what to name the foundation, how to structure it, how to make grants, and who will run the board of directors.
The key to success is to select a professional investment partner. A reputable investment firm can provide advice and services in the areas of tax preparation, financial reporting, and donor reporting. They should also provide a wide range of administrative services. Choosing the right partner can make your foundation more efficient, while delivering positive results.
Once a foundation has been established, it must follow a number of federal and state laws. Failure to comply can lead to civil penalties or the loss of tax exempt status. Additionally, private foundations must ensure that their board meets legal and fiduciary duties. These duties are critical in ensuring that the foundation maintains its public standing.
Board members are responsible for ensuring that the foundation has sufficient assets to fund grants. They must balance current charitable needs with future charitable needs. In addition, they must manage investments, oversee financial transactions, and monitor the performance of the investment portfolio. Their responsibilities include creating a written policy statement and maintaining a record of the foundation’s assets and investments.
Having a clear mission statement can help members connect the mission of the foundation to the goals of their grantmaking. Using a concise, easy-to-understand statement can allow your board to quickly identify and prioritize potential recipients.
Board members should also know the laws governing their specific activities. For example, if your foundation distributes money to individuals, you must be certain that you do not violate the conflict of interest rules. Also, if your foundation makes awards such as scholarships, you should be aware that certain rules apply.
Foundations that receive funding from capital gains property such as appreciated stock can be subject to an excise tax. Donors are allowed to deduct up to 30% of their adjusted gross income on this tax basis. The amount deductible depends on the amount of the gift and the adjusted gross income.
Private foundations can make donations to organizations in other countries as well. Some foundations issue open grant solicitations, while others seek out potential grantees. Grants are often made to support specific initiatives. Depending on the foundation’s focus, it is possible to create a thriving grantmaking program.
The IRS offers tax incentives for charitable giving through private foundations. But there are a number of legal and regulatory challenges to consider, including maintaining a productive work environment. To keep your private foundation running smoothly, you should be diligent and comply with the relevant regulations. Consult with legal counsel to avoid any pitfalls.