Alternatives to Private Foundations

We offer effective alternatives to private foundations.

the difference between a private family foundation and a fund with CFSKY...

People often establish a private family foundation because they don’t know that in many cases working through a community foundation offers an easier alternative. In addition to the tax benefits, a fund through the Community Foundation can be established very quickly. Additionally, the staff of the Foundation takes care of auditing and financial reporting requirements. Many community foundation donors are also pleased by the fact that community foundations have none of the annual payout requirements of private foundations. That means donors may take the time necessary to be thoughtful in recommending charities to receive grants from their fund.

Community foundations combine the tax advantages of a public charity with the lasting quality of a private foundation. Gifts of cash and ordinary income property to a community foundation are deductible up to 50% of adjusted gross income versus 30% for a private foundation. Gifts of appreciated property can be credited for 30% versus 20% for a private foundation. There is no excise tax on community foundations as there is on private foundations.

weighing the benefits of private and public charity...

Establishing a private foundation is like having a child…giving birth is just the first step. Running a successful, mission-driven foundation requires steadfast vision, strong leadership, and hard work. It also takes time. While the investment of time begins with the startup, it will continue for years to come. And of course, it takes money as well. Theoretically, any amount is possible. But practically, many underestimate the amount needed to operate efficiently, both in terms of the charitable asset and ongoing operating costs. Many private foundations are established without thorough assessment of all the costs involved and the alternatives available. Often prompted by year-end tax planning or the influence of peers, a quick decision can result in a costly and long-term responsibility.

surprised by demands

In fact, after the first year or two of operations, some private foundation founders express mild regret, saying they didn’t anticipate the magnitude of demands on their time, energy, and resources. They wish that someone had helped them consider the costs, the benefits, and the options…before they signed up for the responsibilities of a private foundation.

practical alternatives

For philanthropists considering options, as well as private foundation trustees interested in simpler solutions, practical alternatives are available through The Community Foundation of South Central Kentucky.

Assets of a private foundation may be used to establish a Donor Advised Fund, Unrestricted Fund, Field of Interest Fund, Scholarship Fund or Designated Fund. Depending on the type of fund that is established, the private foundation’s board of directors often stays involved in setting grantmaking priorities, advising on grant awards and assessing grant success.

private foundation + donor advised fund

Philanthropists may choose to maintain their private foundations while establishing a Donor Advised Fund at The Community Foundation of South Central Kentucky. In doing so, they can earmark just a portion of their assets to suit a special interest.

donor advised funds

Donor Advised Funds offer a simple, powerful, and highly personal approach to giving. While The Community Foundation of South Central Kentucky retains the assets given in this way, donors—and even successive generations—can stay involved in recommending uses for the fund.

benefits of a public charity

Section 507 of the Internal Revenue Code permits termination of a private foundation in either trust or corporate form with distribution of its assets to a public charity. The two primary requirements for the termination of a private foundation are that the private foundation must distribute all of its net assets to one or more tax-exempt organizations and that each organization has been in existence for a continuous period of at least five years preceding the distribution. The Foundation fulfills both of these requirements and the private foundation’s assets typically form a permanent Donor Advised Fund under a similar name.