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  • Is there an official status for family foundations in France?
    There is no official status for family or private foundations in France. Families have several options however, including: a “recognized public utility foundation” (FRUP), a “sheltered foundation” (fondation abritée), or an endowment fund (fonds de dotation).
  • Is there a minimum distribution amount for foundations and funds in France?
    Unlike Canada or the US, there is no minimum distribution required for a foundation’s assets in France. Foundations and fonds de dotation are however expected to donate regularly, and those that are considered inactive (no donations made for a significant period of time), could be required to close by the government.
  • Do I have donate funds to my foundation or fund every year?
    Foundations and endowment funds in France can be endowed with a lump-sum, on a yearly and/or periodic basis. In addition, your giving policy can be on an interest-only basis, or with a spend-down of capital, or a mix of both. Note that there are different tax implications according to your choice.
  • How much do I need to create my foundation?
    The minimum amount needed to launch a private or family foundation varies according to the structure; from 15 K€ to 1,5 M€. Administrative set up fees will vary according to the legal services used, and also the type of structure created.
  • What are the board requirements for funds and foundations in France?
    Again, here it depends on the structure: an endowment fund (fonds de dotation) requires 3 board members (but can have more), a « recognized public utility foundation” (FRUP) requires 9 to 15 members, within three committees - founders, sector experts, and government representatives. Finally, a “sheltered foundation” (fondation abritée) does not have an official board but a committee that is supervised by a staff or member of the “sheltering” foundation.
  • What is trust-based philanthropy grantmaking?
    Stanford’s Centre on Philanthropy describes it as “an approach to giving that addresses the inherent power imbalances between funders, nonprofits, and the communities they serve. At its core, trust-based philanthropy is about redistributing power - systemically, organizationally, and interpersonally - in service of a healthier and more equitable nonprofit ecosystem.”
  • What is participatory grantmaking?
    The Fund for Global Human Rights defines it as “the practice of ceding grant-making power to affected community members and constituencies.” What does this mean? In practice, it means placing those communities and sectors in need at the center of your grant-making by giving them a seat at the table for funding decisions.
  • What is venture philanthropy grantmaking?
    Venture philanthropy is the application or redirection of principles of traditional venture capital (VC) to that of philanthropy. This can take the form of grants, loans, equity and hybrid financial instruments and other types of non-financial support such as coaching, or mentoring.
  • What is systemic change grantmaking?
    Systems change is a phrase used to explain an approach that aims at solving the root causes of social or environmental issues instead of the problem itself. In a nutshell, solving the problem under the band-aid, rather than ensuring that band-aids are in supply. This type of approach is long-term, and to be effective needs to include multiple stakeholders (foundations, governments, businesses, charities…etc.)
  • What is effective altruism grantmaking?
    Effective altruism (EA) is a philosophical and social movement that encourages an evidence-based approach to philanthropy, with a goal to ensure one’s donation is the most effective use of funds possible for the cause chosen.

Many of the grantmaking styles and philosophies listed above are merely a quick
introduction. Should you like to further discuss what they entail, how that fits with your
foundation or fund’s values and goals, or should you have any other questions, don’t
hesitate to contact me.

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