What is an umbrella foundation

Running a foundation requires day-to-day professional management and implies substantial administrative, legal, and accounting costs. Therefore, independent foundations, whose resources are often limited, face a number of challenges and costs that inevitably reduce the amount of funding available for projects.

The concept of the umbrella foundation – also known as a community foundation in the US, fondation abritante in France and Dachstiftung in Germany – has been developed precisely to address these difficulties. Umbrella foundations are independent charities that provide professional philanthropy advice and administrative services to donors, according to their personal interests and needs.

Advantages of umbrella foundations:

  • Minimize hassle: umbrella foundations provide all the administrative, accounting, and legal services required so you are free to focus exclusively on the philanthropic causes that are dearest to you.
  • Uniting forces: this setup allows you to pool funds with other donors, to share overhead costs, and therefore to maximize the impact of giving.
  • Flexibility: you can choose to support your preferred projects and causes by creating and setting the terms of your own fund. You are free to decide your personal level of involvement in the selection and monitoring of the beneficiaries.
  • Transparency and feedback: you are always kept informed about how your money is spent and what impact it has achieved.
  • Long-term impact: by setting an endowment fund, you ensure that your money will continue to have an impact years from now.


Click here to learn the advantages of donating through Fondation Philanthropia.