Jumpstarting a lasting fund, without the pesky
April 9, 2011 3:46 AM   Subscribe

I would like to create a non-profit fund / fundraising org earmarked towards jumpstarting community centers. I've heard that rather than trying to create a non-profit, it might be best to partner with an existing non-profit with similar interests, and see if they'd "host" the fund I want to create / help with the legal aspects, while allowing me to earmark and oversee the fund. I intend to do regular fundraising, and hope to create a lasting fund that attracts bequests. Does anyone know about the legalities involved here? Any advice as to how I might want to approach such a project?
posted by markkraft to Law & Government (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Look for a "community foundation" in your area. This is exactly what they do (here's a description of how the one in my hometown works and here's a brief overview of the services they can provide for nonprofits), and you're really smart to consider this option from the outset.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 4:50 AM on April 9, 2011 [1 favorite]

I want to second talking to your local community foundation. You bring them the money, and they manage it according to your criteria. It's still your problem to raise the money, though.
posted by Forktine at 5:15 AM on April 9, 2011

In NYC, Fund for the City of NY does this. They also give grants and loans to the funds they host. They could probably put you in contact with a non-profit you could partner with.
posted by Obscure Reference at 6:18 AM on April 9, 2011

I came in here to suggest your local community foundation, but others have beat me to it.

If you're going to look for another non-profit (other than a community foundation), you'll probably find many are just not set up to handle your request and the legalities involved even if their mandate is in line with what you want to do. Unless they act as a fund manager already, it will involve significant administrative costs on their part and that may make a big dent in your initial start-up funds.

Community Foundations are already set up to take care of all that stuff, and in many communities, do brilliant work. They will also network you in with those groups looking for your help and can help you evaluate what they are proposing.
posted by scrute at 6:45 AM on April 9, 2011

Best answer: Yes, the above answers directing you to a community fund are exactly what you're looking for. In your area, there are a bunch:

The San Francisco Foundation
Bay Area Community Foundation
East Bay Community Foundation
Marin Community Foundation
Jewish Community Endowment Fund

Here is a list of all of the California-based community foundations.

I'd also recommend a trip to your local Foundation Center library to talk with the professionals there about your goals and objectives. They will probably know which one of the many community foundations is the right fit for you! They're all slightly different but the rules can sometimes be hard to navigate. Let a professional do it, that's what we're here for.
posted by juniperesque at 6:47 AM on April 9, 2011

I would say they probably would not allow you to earmark and oversee the fund if you were a partner without being a separate legal organization. You could probably ask to be included on a fund committee or could be the executive officer of the fund, so that you would suggest activities the fund would do to raise money. Are you looking at this as a job or as a charitable activity for yourself?
posted by parmanparman at 3:45 PM on April 9, 2011

In addition to community foundations, investigate community development financial institutions (CDFIs), which attract investments as well as charitable support. The Northern California Community Loan Fund is an example in your area that does a lot of community facility work.
posted by FLAG (BASTARD WATER.) (Acorus Adulterinus.) at 6:10 AM on April 10, 2011

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