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Encyclopedia > Foundation (charity)

A charitable foundation is a legal categorization of nonprofit organizations that either donate funds and support to other organizations, or provide the sole source of funding for their own activities. A non-profit organization (often called non-profit org or simply non-profit or not-for-profit) can be seen as an organization that doesnt have a goal to make a profit. ...


Foundations in civil law systems

The term "foundation" originates in civil law jurisdictions, where it is used to describe a distinct legal entity. Image File history File links Gnome-globe. ... Civil law or continental law is the predominant system of law in the world. ... In law, jurisdiction (from the Latin ius, iuris meaning law and dicere meaning to speak) is the practical authority granted to a formally constituted legal body or to a political leader to deal with and make pronouncements on legal matters and, by implication, to administer justice within a defined area...

A foundation has legal personality, and is entered in a public registry like a company. Unlike a company, it has no shareholders, though it may have voting members. It holds assets in its own name for the purposes set out in its consitutive documents, and its administration and operation is carried out in accordance with contractual rather than fiduciary principles. The foundation has a distinct patrimony independent of its founder. A legal entity or artificial person is a legal construct with legal rights or duties such as the legal capacity to enter into contracts and sue or be sued. ... Look up company in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... A shareholder or stockholder is an individual or company (including a corporation), that legally owns one or more shares of stock in a joint stock company. ... The court of chancery, which governed fiduciary relations prior to the Judicature Acts The fiduciary duty is a legal relationship between two or more parties, most commonly a fiduciary or trustee and a principal or beneficiary, that in English common law is arguably the most important concept within the portion... 1. ... Laminitis, also known as founder, is inflammation of the sensitive lamina of the foot in a horse, the complications of which often result in the horse having to be euthanized. ...

Foundations are often set up for charitable purposes. A charitable organization (also known as a charity) is a trust, company or unincorporated association established for charitable purposes only. ...

The foundation finds its source in institutions of medieval times when a patron would establish a foundation to endow a monastery or other religious institution in perpetuity.

The States of Jersey are considering introducing civil law type foundations into its law. A consultation paper presenting a general discussion on foundations was brought forth to the Jersey government concerning this possibility: Foundations: Proposals for a new law (pdf file). PDF is an abbreviation with several meanings: Portable Document Format Post-doctoral fellowship Probability density function There also is an electronic design automation company named PDF Solutions. ...

Foundations in U.S. law

A foundation is a type of philanthropic or charitable organization set up by individuals or institutions as a legal entity (a corporation or trust) with the purpose of distributing grants to support causes in line with the goals of the foundation or as a charitable entity that receives grants in order to support a specific activity or activities of charitable purpose. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., parent organization of Wikipedia, is an example of the latter. The Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. ... Wikipedia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ...

In the United States, the word "foundation" does not have the same legal restrictions as "incorporated" or "limited;" therefore many foundations do not have the word foundation in their name and many organizations that one would not consider to be a foundation include the word foundation in their name. The status of an organization as a private foundation or public charity is determined by federal tax code as interpreted by the Internal Revenue Service. A nonprofit organization (abbreviated NPO, or non-profit or not-for-profit) is an organization whose primary objective is to support an issue or matter of private interest or public concern for non-commercial purposes. ... Seal of the Internal Revenue Service The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is the United States federal government agency that collects taxes and enforces the internal revenue laws. ...

There are several types of foundations, including family foundations, corporate foundations and community foundations. Community foundations are public charities established in communities throughout the world (there are about 700 in the U.S.) to support community efforts. Frequently, these community foundations have both funds to be used at the discretion of the board of directors and other, specialized funds established by individuals, families, businesses, and nonprofit groups at these foundations into which they contribute a variety of assets (cash and stock being among the most popular). These assets are invested and grow over time. While there are many different kinds of funds that can be established, among the most popular are donor-advised funds. These enable those who established them to contribute assets into the funds at any time, and then they can recommend that grants be made from the fund to qualified nonprofit groups in any amount and at any time in the future—anywhere in the world. Community foundations also work with people to help them implement charitable giving as part of their estate plans—e.g. through a bequest. A charitable foundation is a nonprofit corporation or trust with a principal purpose of making grants to unrelated organizations or institutions or to individuals for scientific, educational, cultural, religious, or other charitable purposes. Most such foundations issue grants from investment proceeds of a permanent endowment, like a university's permanent endowment; a minority of foundations are set up to "spend down" the endowment itself, meaning they cease to exist after a certain number of years of grantmaking.

The two most famous philanthropists of the Gilded Age pioneered the sort of large-scale private philanthropy of which permanent charitable foundations are a modern pillar: John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie. The businessmen each accumulated private wealth at a scale previously unknown outside of royalty, and each in their later years decided to give much of it away. Carnegie gave away the bulk of his fortune in the form of one-time gifts to build libraries and museums. Rockefeller followed suit (notably building the University of Chicago), but then gave nearly half of his fortune to create the Rockefeller Foundation. By far the largest private permanent endowment for charitable giving created to that time, the Rockefeller Foundation was the first to became a widely understood example of the species: a standing charitable grant-making entity outside of direct control by any level of government. The Breakers, a gilded-age mansion in Newport, Rhode Island. ... John Davison Rockefeller, Sr. ... Andrew Carnegie (November 25, 1835 – August 11, 1919) was a Scottish-American industrialist, businessman, a major and widely respected philanthropist, and the founder of the Carnegie Steel Company which later became U.S. Steel. ... The University of Chicago is an elite private university located principally in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago. ... The Rockefeller Foundation (RF) is a prominent philanthropic organization based at 420 Fifth Avenue, New York City. ...

Types of U.S. foundations

While several types of foundations exist, the two most common are private foundations and community foundations. Both are independent nonprofit corporations governed by a board of directors, and both types make grants from a permanent invested endowment. Community foundations are focused on specific geographic areas (most often a given city), and typically have smaller endowments of their own but also manage donor-directed funds that are restricted to specific individual causes or issues. Most of the familiar large foundations such as Rockefeller or the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation are private foundations. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is the worlds largest charitable foundation. ...

A family foundation is a type of private foundation where the board of directors is entirely or mostly made up of the extended family of the founder(s). Some family foundations eventually transition to being freestanding self-perpetuating private institutions not controlled by a single family. Perhaps the most-famous example is the Ford Foundation. Outsiders often erroneously believe that a family foundation can somehow be wrested away from the family's control; in fact, such transitions are always the result of an explicit decision by the controlling family (either when they created the institution in the first place, or later). The Ford Foundation is a charitable foundation based in New York City created to fund programs that promote democracy, reduce poverty, promote international understanding, and advance human achievement. ...

U.S. foundation reforms

Starting at the end of World War II, the United States's high top income tax rates spurred a burst of foundations and trusts being created, of which many were simply tax shelters. President Harry S. Truman publicly raised this issue in 1950, resulting in the passage later that year of a federal law that established new rigor and definition to the practice. The law did not go very far in regulating tax-exempt foundations, however, a fact which was made obvious throughout the rest of that decade as the foundation-as-tax-refuge model continued to be propagated by financial advisors to wealthy families and individuals. Several attempts at passing a more complete type of reform during the 1960s culminated in the Tax Reform Act of 1969, which remains the controlling legislation in the United States. For more details on that legislative history, see [1]. Combatants Allied powers: China France Great Britain Soviet Union United States and others Axis powers: Germany Italy Japan and others Commanders Chiang Kai-shek Charles de Gaulle Winston Churchill Joseph Stalin Franklin Roosevelt Adolf Hitler Benito Mussolini Hideki Tōjō Casualties Military dead: 17,000,000 Civilian dead: 33,000... An income tax is a tax levied on the financial income of persons, corporations, or other legal entities. ... Tax shelters are any method of reducing taxable income resulting in a reduction of the payments to tax collecting entities including state and federal governments. ... President Truman announces that Germany had surrendered (May 8 1945) Harry S. Truman (May 8, 1884 – December 26, 1972) was the thirty-third President of the United States (1945–1953); as Vice President, he succeeded to the office upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt. ...

The 1969 law clearly defined the fundamental social contract offered to private charitable foundations, the core of which has been imitated in law by other nations. In exchange for exemption from paying most taxes and for limited tax benefits being offered to donors, a charitable foundation must (a) pay out at least 5% of the value of its endowment each year, none of which may be to the private benefit of any individual; (b) not own or operate significant for-profit businesses; (c) file detailed public annual reports and conduct annual audits in the same manner as a for-profit corporation; (d) meet a suite of additional accounting requirements unique to nonprofits.

Administrative and operating expenses count towards the 5% requirement; they range from trivial at small unstaffed foundations, to more than half a percent of the endowment value at larger staffed ones. Congressional proposals to exclude those costs from the payout requirement typically receive much attention during boom periods when foundation endowments are earning investment returns much greater than 5% (such as the late 1990s); the idea typically fades when foundation endowments are shrinking in a down market (such as 2001-2003).

While most of a foundation's payout is typically grants to nonprofits, some foundations also carry out projects as a nonprofit organization themselves. (Adding to the confusion, some operating nonprofits use the term "foundation" in their names.) The core differences between a foundation and an operating charitable group are (a) foundation must pay out 5% of its assets each year while a charitable group does not; (b) donors to a charitable group receive greater tax benefits than donors to a foundation; (c) a charitable group must collect at least 10% of its annual expenses from the public in order to remain tax-exempt while a foundation does not. Neither an operating charitable group nor a foundation can pay for or participate in partisan political activity, unless they surrender tax-exempt status including voiding the deductibility of any tax deductions for donors after the surrender or revocation date.

Foundations in English law

In England, the word "foundation" is sometimes used in the title of a charity, as in the British Heart Foundation and the Fairtrade Foundation. Despite this, the term is not generally used in English law, and (unlike in civil law systems) the term has no precise meaning.

See also

Foundations in Canada collectively comprise a very large asset base for philanthropy. ... A charitable trust is a trust organized to serve private or public charitable purposes. ... A charitable trust (or charity) is a trust organized to serve private or public charitable purposes. ... List of wealthiest foundations is an annotated list of the largest foundations and other charitable organizations, organised by country and size of financial endowment. ... An offshore foundation is simply a conventional foundation that is formed under the laws of an offshore jurisdiction. ... Program evaluation is essentially a set of philosophies and techniques to determine if a program works. It is a practice field that has emerged, particularly in the USA, as a disciplined way of assessing the merit, value, and worth of projects and programs. ... This article is about the institution. ... // This is a list of foundations that support or provide philanthropic activities. ...

Further reading

  • Lester M. Salamon et al, "Global Civil Society: Dimensions of the Nonprofit Sector", 1999, Johns Hopkins Center for Civil Society Studies.
  • David C. Hammack, editor, "Making the Nonprofit Sector in the United States", 1998, Indiana University Press.
  • Joan Roelofs, Foundations and Public Policy: The Mask of Pluralism, State University of New York Press, 2003

Further listening

  • Joan Roelofs, The Invisible Hand of Corporate Capitalism, Recorded at Hampshire College, April 18, 2007. [2]

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Foundation (charity) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (364 words)
A Foundation is a type of philanthropic organization set up by either individuals or institutions as a legal entity (either as a corporation or trust) with the purpose of distributing grants to support causes in line with the goals of the foundation.
The foundation has a distinct patrimony independent of its founder and if it is not a moral person, it is considered to be a social trust.
Frequently, these community foundations have both funds to be used at the discretion of the board of directors and other, specialized funds established by individuals, families, businesses, and nonprofit groups at these foundations into which they contribute a variety of assets (cash and stock being among the most popular).
Foundation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (206 words)
Foundation (architecture) — the portion of a building's structure that serves to transfer the weight of the building into the ground.
Foundation (charity) — a kind of philanthropic organization, set up as a legal entity either by individuals or institutions, with the purpose of distributing grants to support causes in line with the goals of the foundation.
Foundation (novel) and The Foundation Series — a series of books written by Isaac Asimov.
  More results at FactBites »



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