Exploring Private Foundation Alternatives

Professional Advisors Council

October 19, 2021
Fort Lauderdale attorney Lisa Crawford, a new member of the Community Foundation of Broward's Professional Advisor Council, participates in the council's October virtual meeting.

The Community Foundation of Broward’s Professional Advisors Council recently discussed how to help clients navigate the dos and don’ts of launching a private foundation – while also exploring alternatives able to accomplish their clients’ charitable goals.

The Professional Advisors Council is an elite group of attorneys, accountants and financial advisors who have referred clients who create charitable Funds at the Community Foundation. Opportunities to hear from wealth and estate planning experts is one of the benefits for professional advisors who collaborate with the Community Foundation.

The October Professional Advisors Council’s virtual meeting featured a discussion of the ins and outs of creating and operating private foundations, as well as whether creating a Donor-Advised Fund could provide a simpler, more impactful alternative.

The discussion was led by a team of expert legal and financial planners as well as private foundation trustees including: Jennifer W. Jones, J.D., LL.M., a shareholder in the Private Wealth Services group at Gunster; Ralph Focaracci, CPA, Ralph L. Focaracci, P.A; Brent Hagey, President, The Celia Lipton Farris and Victor W. Farris Foundation; Nancy Bryant and her husband Jerry Taylor, Jerry Taylor and Nancy Bryant Foundation; and Kurt Zimmerman, Esq., Zimmerman & Associates, P.A.

Participants discussed the challenges of launching and maintaining a private foundation, such as:

  • Administrative, “back office” duties – such as legal filings, taxes, finding innovative grantmaking opportunities, making sure grants are used as intended – overshadowing the joy of giving.
  • Keeping family members involved in leadership roles and ensuring a succession plan for guidance of a family foundation.
  • Having the depth of knowledge or capacity to ensure maximum impact on the causes championed by the private foundation.

“I try to explain to (clients) right from the get go that you are going to have to build a team of people to accomplish your needs in a private foundation. You are going to have to have legal advisors, you are going to have to have investment advisors, accounting advisors,” Ralph Focaracci said. “It is a lot of work.”

The discussion also explored alternatives, such as creating a Donor-Advised Fund instead of a private foundation and how private foundations can benefit partnering with the Community Foundation to make their philanthropy simpler and more enjoyable. For example:

  • The Community Foundation provides grantmaking services for private foundations:  The Community Foundation identifies innovative nonprofits making a difference in a private foundation’s areas of interest. The Community Foundation also offers opportunities for private foundations to leverage their giving with others for greater impact.
  • Private foundations can convert into a charitable Fund at the Community Foundation: With a Donor-Advised Fund at the Community Foundation, private foundation’s keep their identity and those involved can recommend grants to charities or issues of their choice. They avoid the administrative, compliance, and tax burdens of maintaining a private foundation and don’t have to deal with endless solicitations. They focus on the joy of giving as their Fund fulfills their charitable purpose.

Nancy Bryant said “learning the ropes” of launching a private foundation was the biggest challenge she and her husband Jerry Taylor faced when they started their private foundation –  followed closely by knowing where to give. A few years later when they moved to Fort Lauderdale, identifying the best nonprofits to support became more difficult.

So, in 2003 Nancy and Jerry teamed up with the Community Foundation to help with grantmaking for the Jerry Taylor and Nancy Bryant Foundation. Since then, their Donor-Advised Fund at the Community Foundation has provided vital support for Broward’s children, the environment, the arts and more. And when the pandemic hit, Jerry and Nancy enlisted the Community Foundation’s experts to find the best ways to direct $1 million in support to help residents who needed it the most.

“There’s so much to know about responsible giving, the tax laws, governing foundations, gifting restrictions, record keeping and board operations,” Nancy said. “The Community Foundation has been a terrific help to us. ... They arranged for me to make some site visits to organizations here in Fort Lauderdale that I wouldn’t have known about. They know the community.”

More news from PAC

  • The PAC welcomed Fort Lauderdale attorney Lisa Crawford to the 90+ member council. “I am very happy to be a part of the advisors group for the Community Foundation of Broward,” she said. “I’m looking forward to learning a lot about how I can help.”
  • This was Judy Bonevac’s first meeting as PAC Chair. Judy is the previous Vice Chair who has long partnered with the Community Foundation to help clients make the most out of their philanthropy. Judy replaces former PAC Chair Kurt Zimmerman, a Community Foundation Board Member who is leading the BE BOLD Leadership Campaign Committee.

The Community Foundation is a go-to resource for professional advisors, ready to help them navigate charitable planning opportunities for their clients. Whether it’s with a gift now or through an estate plan, we partner with advisors to help maximize their clients’ giving power. Working together, we help local residents achieve their charitable goals and make a BOLD impact for our community. Click here to learn more about how we collaborate with advisors.

Learn More

To learn how the Community Foundation teams with professional advisors to help their clients make the most out of their charitable giving, contact Mark Kotler, Senior Director of Philanthropic services at mkotler@cfbroward.org or 954-761-9503, ext. 130

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