What is a Family Foundation?

A Family Foundation is a foundation whose funds are derived from members of a single family. At least one family member must continue to serve as an officer or board member of the foundation. Most family foundations are run by family members who serve as trustees or directors on a voluntary basis, receiving no compensation; in many cases, second- and third-generation descendants of the original donors manage the foundation. Most family foundations concentrate their giving locally, in their communities.

Why do wealthy individuals establish foundations?

The most compelling reason is that wealth and success create responsibility; in this case, social responsibility. Also, there is a growing awareness of the potentially adverse affect of excessive inherited wealth on children, grandchildren and future generations.

Sometimes issues are centred on specific missions and sometimes the legacy is as simple as instilling basic morals and family values in the generations to follow. Family foundations are often created to provide lasting legacies, while effectively preparing the next generation for wealth transfer.

Family giving programs can keep the family together over the generations like no other initiative, while benefiting those most in need. Foundations typically last for 80 years and as the funds are invested for a long time, the risk profile can be higher than for shorter term investments.

When asked what he intended to leave his children Warren Buffet reportedly once said, “I want to leave them enough to do anything they want, but not enough to do nothing.“

Therefore, in growing numbers, affluent individuals are responsibly and effectively transferring a portion of their wealth to their own charitable fund, the family foundation, and reaping the benefits.

Why would you consider a family foundation?

I want to:

  • build character in future generations of my family
  • instil and hand down important family values to future generations
  • provide a lasting family legacy
  • prepare the next generation for responsible wealth transfer
  • keep my family together over time and distance
  • benefit people who are less fortunate than we are
  • effect real change in my comminity or in another community
  • build responsibility, motivation and self-esteem in family members
  • fund our family giving by the most tax effective means.

If you ticked 3 or more boxes you should be considering a charitable foundation with family members as the trustees.

"What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for our communities lives
long after we are gone."

- Theodore Roosevelt


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