In most cases, Sterling can work directly with you and/or your advisors to get your foundation established in as soon as 48 hours.
Absolutely. Sterling offers comprehensive philanthropy services – we can handle all or part of your foundation creation needs. Since we do not custody assets or provide tax or legal advice, our services are complementary to those of financial advisors, attorneys and CPAs.
There is no limit to how much you can put into your foundation. If your goal is to get the largest income tax deduction possible, you should consider donating 30 percent of your pre-tax income into your foundation. If your goal is to build a large foundation or avoid estate tax, you may wish to select a percentage of your net worth – 25 percent for example – to put into your foundation. It is always best to consult with your tax advisor for the tax implications for your specific situation.
It is quite inexpensive, but the cost does vary depending on your charitable objectives and needs. Please contact Sterling to discuss this in detail.
Technically, your foundation will be a not-for-profit corporation or a trust, which qualifies as a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Sterling has the expertise and experience to manage the entire application process so that your foundation is approved by the IRS as a tax-exempt organization.
Yes. There are limitations the IRS and states impose on all foundations. Sterling will manage your foundation to ensure that your foundation is in compliance with all rules and regulations. Generally speaking, your foundation may not engage in business transactions with you, members of your family, your company, or your employees, however there are exceptions.
Yes, under specific IRS exception rules, you or your family members may be employed by your foundation as long as the compensation paid is reasonable for the work performed. Sterling will work with you to determine what is reasonable and perform a compensation analysis to ensure you are in compliance.
Your foundation can donate to any charity that is recognized by the IRS as a public charity. Generally, this includes churches and synagogues, hospitals, schools, universities, most scientific and educational organizations, museums, symphonies, opera companies, poverty relief groups, homeless shelters, environmental organizations, etc. In certain circumstances, your foundation can also make donations to foreign charities that would not be deductible if those donations were made by an individual.
Yes. Foundations must distribute a minimum of five percent of a foundation's average net assets each year. Many foundations give the minimum amount in the early years. This allows the foundation to grow more rapidly while giving the founder(s) additional time to focus on their philanthropic vision.
Yes, of course. In fact, Sterling does not custody assets at all. The only limitation on how you can invest the money is that you may not invest it in what the IRS considers "Jeopardizing Investments." In practice, this is very rarely an issue and something that can be mitigated through an investment policy statement.
It entirely depends on you, your preferences, and philanthropic goals. For most, they only spend as much time as they want and rely on Sterling to make things easy for them. Generally, the only things you must do each year are decide what charities to support and occasionally sign annual compliance documents.
You (and your financial advisor) will decide which firm will hold your foundation's money. It can be at the same place where you have your stocks, bonds, mutual funds or other accounts. You will get account statements directly from the bank, brokerage firm or money management firm that holds your foundation's assets.
The general rule is that your foundation must give away five percent of average net assets each year. Sterling will calculate the amount for you and advise you months in advance of any deadlines on where your foundation stands toward meeting the minimum distribution requirement.
No. However, you might want to keep in mind that there are minimum costs associated with managing your foundation.
It's easy. Simply fill out a Disbursement Request Form and send it to us. We will conduct and document our due diligence and prepare the grant check and the required letter that accompanies it to assure that the recipient charity qualifies. We need to review all grant requests before the grants go out to ensure that your foundation remains in compliance with all giving rules. Depending on your preference, Sterling will send the check and letter to you to send to the recipient, or we can send them directly to the recipients for you. Generally, recipient charities must be qualified as tax-exempt organizations under section 501(c)(3) and public charities under section 509(a)(1).
Yes. As philanthropic planning experts, Sterling helps our client choose the right charitable structure, which could be a private (non-operating) foundation, a private operating foundation, a public charity or a supporting organization, to achieve their philanthropic goals and then proceeds to create and help manage the charitable organization.
Founded in 1998, Sterling Foundation Management is the nation's leading provider of charitable planning and charitable organization administration services. Sterling's principals have written and spoken widely on the subject of philanthropy, foundations, and public charities. Sterling's founders co-authored Creating a Private Foundation, which was published by Bloomberg Press in 2003 and is now in its second printing, and Managing Foundations and Charitable Trusts published in 2011. In addition to comprehensive foundation management, Sterling offers Family Office Concierge Services to high net-worth clients and is the leading provider of secondary planning services for charitable remainder trusts – CRT Secondary Planning Services.
Every facet of Sterling’s services includes advising our clients on current best practices for achieving their goals. In addition, our clients follow Sterling on Linkedin or Twitter to receive timely and relevant news pertaining to starting and managing their charitable organizations. Or you can sign up here  for email updates from Sterling.