Community vs. Private Foundation

A community foundation, such as the Los Alamos Community Foundation, is supported by the public and governed by a Board of Directors consisting of area residents who represent the public interest. Community foundations differ from private foundations in that community foundations are not subject to the control of an individual family or group. Because of this distinction, a community foundation is classified by the Internal Revenue Service as “not a private foundation” but as “a public charity.”

Public charity status entitles a community foundation’s donors to tax deductions that are superior to those accorded to a private foundation’s donors. Community foundations are also not subject to tax on its investment income, certain public disclosure requirements, and restrictions on making certain types of grants, holding certain kinds of property, and engaging in certain charitable activities as are private foundations.

For these reasons, many individuals, families, and businesses are better able to achieve their charitable goals with a fund at a community foundation than by establishing or maintaining a private foundation. A family or group can establish a fund within the Los Alamos Community Foundation to act much like a private or family foundation.