For the past century, Family Foundations have served as the cornerstone of American Philanthropy, distributing hundreds of millions of dollars to worthy causes.
But the question arises, who exactly sets up a Family Foundation?
While it is impossible to come up with a one-size-fits-all generalization, certain characteristics are common to many, if not most, foundation creators.

(1) A desire to use their time, skills and financial resources to benefit worthy causes that are near and dear to their heart;

(2) A desire to involve not only their attorney and accountants in the giving process, but to include their children, children-in-law, or even their grand-children in the philanthropic process;

(3) A desire to see real and actual change take place in the areas in which they have dedicated their resources. Foundation creators rarely are content to simply “cut a check”, but take an active involvement in seeing that the organizations they fund are achieving measurable results with the money that has been given them.

(4) A desire to see that such worthy causes and organizations are not “left in the lurch” by economic downturns or the unpredictability of various markets. Donations are often made in order to sustain their beneficiaries through the challenges of tomorrow as well as today.

Notice what’s missing from this list – the net worth of the Foundation creator.
While it may be impractical to establish a Family Foundation with less than $100,000 – such donors may prefer to use a Donor Advised Fund instead – there is no financial requirement to establish a Family Foundation.
Only a desire to leave a lasting and positive legacy on our society.

John Erik Fraker, Esq.

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John Erik Fraker, Esq.

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