Reading Guide for Artists and Their Family Members

July 5, 2013  • Artist-Endowed Foundations Initiative/AEFI

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This reading guide to the two-volume report produced by AEFI’s National Study of Artist-Endowed Foundations is intended to facilitate use of the Study Report by artists who are exploring the possibility of creating a foundation, as well as by family members who are supporting that exploration or may be considering it themselves as an artist’s beneficiary. The guide is organized around questions artists often ask about whether to create an artist-endowed foundation and provides references to the sections of the Study Report that pertain to these questions.

The body of work that an artist creates over a lifetime has aesthetic and cultural significance in its own right and also may provide the resources for posthumous philanthropy. The number of artists who hold a long-term philanthropic vision and have substantial resources to commit to their goals is continuing to grow. For some of these artists, creating and endowing a private foundation will be the appropriate path. For others, an alternative option will offer a better fit with personal circumstances and intentions.

The purpose of the guide is to familiarize artists and their family members with basic considerations in creating a private foundation so that they may be better informed when discussing these issues with their legal advisors, as well as with persons who might potentially play a role in foundation formation and governance. The goal is to promote better understanding as to whether a foundation is an appropriate choice for an artist and, if so, how to plan for a foundation that will be successful in fulfilling its charitable purpose. In all cases, the mission of AEFI, and the aim of its publications, is to help the next generation of artist-endowed foundations make the most of its donors’ generosity in service to a charitable purpose.