Is a Private Foundation Best for You?

For many, the answer is "Yes!" Learn some of the basics below.

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Consider a private foundation.

Some folks start a private foundation because they want to help out the people, institutions, and communities they care about. For others, the motivation may start with tax planning after a conversation with a trusted advisor. Whatever the impetus, new donors often are unaware of the full capabilities of this powerful and flexible philanthropic vehicle.

Private foundations differ significantly from giving as an individual. Here are a few of the unique benefits:

  • Get an immediate tax deduction, but give when you feel like it
  • Create a lasting legacy that links the family name with good works
  • Be taken more seriously as a philanthropist
  • Build a better family and pass on values to younger generations
  • Make tax-deductible grants directly to individuals in need
  • Run charitable programs without setting up a separate nonprofit

To get the details on these and other benefits of having a private foundation, download a free copy of 10 Advantages of Having a Private Foundation.

The source of the funds used to create and sustain a charitable entity often determines the type of organization you can set up.

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Public Charities normally receive at least a third of their annual support as donations from the general public. This means they rely on ongoing fundraising activities.

Private Foundations are typically funded by a single individual, family, or business. While private foundations are allowed to conduct very limited fundraising activities, most do not because it is difficult for foundations to raise money from anyone outside the immediate family or business.

If a significant portion of the funding will be coming from fundraising activities, then consider a public charity. Foundation Source does not provide services for public charities. If you are providing most or all of the funding, consider a private foundation. Foundation Source can help you with that.

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  • New Foundations We can create a new private foundation, ready for funding, in less than a week. We then provide a full range of services to keep the foundation running efficiently and compliantly.
  • Existing Foundations Whether the foundation has been around for a few years or a few generations, our services streamline foundation operations, improve collaboration among foundation members, and provide guidance at key transition points.
  • Corporate Foundations Foundation Source helps you realize all the benefits of a corporate foundation without diverting resources from their for-profit business.
  • Wealth Advisors Foundation Source helps wealth advisors serve the needs of their philanthropic clients by providing a time-tested, third-party solution for setting up and managing private foundations. You manage the assets; we take care of the rest.
  • Attorneys We work with attorneys across the county to provide a time-tested, third-party solution for setting up and managing private foundations on behalf of their clients.

If you think a private foundation may be right for you, here are some possible next steps.

Start a Foundation Visit our page on Starting a Private Foundation to get more detailed information about our simple process, the benefits of a private foundation, funding and investment options, ways you can give, and tax benefits.

Manage Your Foundation Visit the ‘Manage Your Foundation’ zone to get details about the integrated support services we provide for all foundations.

Foundation Source is the nation’s largest provider of comprehensive support services for private foundations, bringing unparalleled knowledge and expertise to clients across the country. Our clients supply the funds, the vision, and the philanthropic goals; we take care of everything else.

Contact us to ask any questions you may have or to get the process started for establishing your private foundation.

Bob Swaback, President

The Mitchell Swaback Foundation

With the help of Foundation Source, we can run our foundation just the way we want.

Bob Swaback, President

The Mitchell Swaback Foundation


With the help of Foundation Source, we can run our foundation just the way we want. The private website, provided by Foundation Source, gives us immediate access to all foundation information, including the grants we have made and the tax returns we have filed. We have found that their Client Services team is always available for advice and assistance. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Foundation Source to anyone.

Carol Maivelett, Administrator

Sylvan/Laureate Foundation

Foundation Source has been instrumental in allowing me the freedom to focus...

Carol Maivelett, Administrator

Sylvan/Laureate Foundation


Since we are a one-staff foundation, Foundation Source has been instrumental in allowing me the freedom to focus on what is most important about having a foundation – and that is interacting with our grantees, listening to their hopes and dreams and then making those dreams, a reality.

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Call 800-839-0054 // Send Us an Email