Q:

How do you set up a foundation?

A:

Quick Answer

To set up a foundation, make a commitment, work with an attorney, create bylaws, come up with award criteria and select a strong board. Finally, create a sustainable plan, and manage funds.

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Full Answer

  1. Make a commitment

    A foundation is both time- and labor-intensive. Make a commitment to a cause, and stick to it. Choose a cause that you are both knowledgeable and passionate about for the best chance of success.

  2. Work with an attorney

    Seek legal counsel from an experienced attorney on the type of organization you should start. An attorney also helps to file paperwork and fast track the process of setting up a fund. Find out the filing requirements for your state before starting on the paperwork.

  3. Create bylaws

    Develop strong bylaws for your foundation. These include board selection and the organization’s governance. Other important bylaws include conflict-of-interest policies, required meetings and general decision making.

  4. Decide on award criteria

    Identify programs that your organization is interested in supporting. Create time-lines for applications, grant awards and program selection. Ensure that the people seeking grants are well aware of the criteria they should meet. Come up with systems to track and document how recipients spend the money, and the impact the money has.

  5. Select board members

    Choose a strong board to steer the foundation. Consider hiring experienced and skilled outsiders to help with fund raising.

  6. Create a sustainable plan

    Come up with a plan for raising funds and possible expansion. Include the day-to-day operations in your plan.

  7. Manage funds

    Obtain an individual identification number for your foundation. Keep the foundation’s accounts and your personal accounts separate. Keep clear records of donations and funds.

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