The ability to make a difference in people’s lives through one’s own private foundation is typically considered a defining mark of achievement. However, it can also make a profound difference in your own life and that of your family. It exerts a unifying force, similar to a family business, by providing a formal structure linking together several generations working toward a common philanthropic goal. By providing a reason to meet and converse, it becomes the glue that holds together family members who are geographically dispersed. And, if the foundation is set up in perpetuity, it transmits the family value system, preserving the memory and interests of the founder to subsequent generations.
However, for many people contemplating a charitable vehicle, the default choice is often a donor-advised fund (DAF). Despite the many benefits that private foundations confer, some people shy away from them because they’ve heard that private foundations are difficult to set up and manage. Although these once may have been valid concerns, today there are firms that provide the same sort of turnkey services that were once only available with DAFs. Thanks to advanced technology and the outsourcing of services that automate and simplify the way private foundations are operated, families can set up a foundation in a matter of days and enjoy the control and flexibility that only a private foundation can offer without any of the traditional complexities.