Success and fortune can blind us to what is truly important in life. In our determined quest to climb the corporate ladder and make ourselves the best at our job or in our company, we tend to lose sight of the little things that is more important than material success and monetary reward.
Nothing brings things into the correct perspective than being of service to your fellow man. And as the old adage says: what do you gain if you attain all the worldly goods on earth but lose your immortal soul in the process? One of the best ways to be of service to others is to set up a charitable foundation. It is a great way to maintain your status in society and at the same time give back to the world.
- Determine your goals. Charitable foundations need a beneficiary; you can’t just decide to fund one without a specific beneficiary in mind. Try to think about the causes that are important to you. Is it for orphans? Or is it for AIDS research? Perhaps you’d like to fund education in third world countries? Or perhaps it’s for animal rights? Is it the arts? You need to identify the things that are close to your heart and that’s what you may want your charity to support.
- Check local laws and regulations. You need to review state and federal rules and regulations that cover starting charitable foundations. Depending on which state you are in, there may be requirements that you need to meet before getting the green light to start your foundation. And you need to register with your state and city for taxation purposes.
- Type of foundation. You need to decide whether your foundation will be established as either a trust or as a corporation. You need this in place before your foundation starts because this will determine how the foundation will be structured and run.
- Like a second job. Starting and running a charity is a lot of work. In fact, having a charity is the equivalent of having another CEO position on top of your regular job. You need to find a cause that is close to you because running the charity will take up a lot of your time dedication and money.
- Get connected. You cannot be the only source of funds for your charity. You also need to get help from concerned individuals, public funds or corporations themselves. Your charity can also get funding from government grants. Try to attend fundraising events where you can network with like-minded fellow philanthropists who can get you in touch with people who can help get your foundation off the ground.
To get certified by the IRS, simply fill out IRS Form 1023 the “Application for Recognition of Exemption Under Section 501(c)(3) of Internal Revenue Code” to get your foundation recognized as a tax-exempt charity. This will be helpful later on when your foundation begins receiving funds or donations. Any money sent to your foundation is exempt from federal tax and any contributions you receive will be tax-deductible.