Foundation basics

Can I start a private foundation by myself?

It is possible to start a private foundation by yourself but you will need the help of other people to control and operate it.

Typically, one person or a married couple serves as the catalyst to start a family foundation. Once the foundation is established, the controlling power over the foundation rests with the board of directors. The specific laws of each state govern how the board of directors functions but most states share the requirement that at least three directors must serve on the board at any one time. Therefore, if just one person is the driving force behind setting up a foundation, it is quite likely they will need to find two other people to serve on the board of directors.

Legally speaking, the directors equally share power over the foundation so finding trustworthy directors is imperative. Generally, the additional board member roles are filled by family members but any trusted person such as a family attorney can fill the slot.

We're Here to Help!

Our mission is to amplify the positive impact of private foundations! Please feel free to contact us at 888-402-1780 for a free, no-obligation conversation—we would love to talk with you!

Other questions about

Foundation basics