Supporting Organizations: Options, Opportunities, and Challenge

Supporting organizations are flexible and entrepreneurial vehicles for family philanthropy. Families who know the specific causes they wish to support, and who are comfortable sharing control of their grantmaking with publicly appointed board members, may well find supporting organizations to be the most appropriate
option for their philanthropic goals.

Families seeking to support the programs and goals of a specific community institution, such as a hospital, university, or museum, may choose to establish supporting organizations with these charities. Families who have more general interests in a community or issue area may establish a supporting organization in partnership with another appropriate public charity, such as a community foundation, Jewish Federation, or other public grantmaking institution.

Important Note: Please note that while the basic guidance provided by this paper is still relevant, laws regarding supporting organizations have shifted slightly since this Issue Brief was published. Please be sure to review complete IRS regulations regarding supporting organizations for additional details.