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Bill Gates is Out! (How You Can Start a Foundation)

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Bill Gates and FriendsMicrosoft announced today that Bill Gates will be leaving the company in July 2008 to concentrate on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which currently has $29.1 billion in assets.

Have you ever considered starting your own foundation? According to the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, if you meet the following qualification, starting a foundation may be right for you:

* You want to leave a lasting imprint on society or you wish to perpetuate a certain viewpoint or philosophy.
* You are searching for a form of giving that can unite family members around a purposeful mission.
* Your annual giving is significant and you would like to be more strategic about the causes you support and how you support them.
* You would like to create a protective buffer between you and those asking for your financial support.
* You have significant or anticipate significant assets you can use to launch and/or endow a private foundation.
* Your giving has become complex and unwieldy, and it requires administrative support.
* You feel a responsibility or a desire to be leader in your community.
* You would like to avail yourself of the considerable tax advantages.

What does it take for your assets to be considered “significant?” The association suggests that at least $25,000 should be available for distribution through grants each year. If your assets produce that amount through income (endowment or annual contributions), and you’re willing to part with that amount, then your assets are considered “significant” for the purpose of starting a foundation.

In addition to Washington Grantmakers, the Council of Foundations is a good resource. They have numerous publications for sale that may be of interest.

Right now, 20 people want to start a foundation on 43 Things.

Updated August 9, 2011 and originally published June 16, 2006.

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About the author

Luke Landes is the founder of Consumerism Commentary. He has been blogging and writing for the internet since 1995 and has been building online communities since 1991. Find out more about Luke Landes and follow him on Twitter. View all articles by .

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avatar 1 Anonymous

I am wondering if you offer grants for individuals like myself so I can start my own business. I am currently a manager of a fastlube business and would like to own it and maybe build at least two more. If you need information or cash flow and a business plan I already have that prepared for the current business I have been managing for the past six years. Any reply would be greatly appreciated. Thank You, Leonard

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