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You have several options .... Among these ...
Using a Donor advised fund :
Several investment firms offer this option. You can start a fund under your name or that of a loved one for as little as $10,000. The company takes care of the details of paperwork and managing investments. The three leading firms that have donor advised mutual funds are Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, the Vanguard Charitable Endowment Programs and the Schwab Fund for Charitable Giving.
You can also use a community foundation:
Community foundations generally allow you to start a fund for as little as $5,000. And like the donor advised Mutual Funds. the day-to-day administration of your charity fund is taken care of. These funds are usually set up to fund local or community projects or organizations, but you aren’t restricted in your choices in giving, nor do you have to live in the particular location. The community fund also has an advantage; you can place securities directly into the fund. This can give you a better tax break since it avoids capital gains on appreciated securities and you still get to take deductions for charitable donations.
Or, what your bank is talking about is actually setting up your own non-profit corporation :
Here are some of the basic steps, from http://www.wikihow.com/Start-a-Charity
Create articles of incorporation for your charity. Articles of incorporation lay out the foundations of your organization. You can find sample Articles on the internet. Articles of incorporation state the purpose, name, duration of operation, type, structure, and other basics of your organization.
Write the bylaws for your organization. Template bylaws can be found online. Bylaws are the rules that govern your charity. A set of bylaws will define how decisions are made, who makes the decisions, what type of governing structure will direct the charity, how the organization will be set up, and how conflicts will be resolved.
Set up a board of directors, or advisory board, and a registered agent. The board of directors will help guide the charity and will make decisions. The registered agent is a person that resides in the state of incorporation—he or she is responsible for receiving official communications from the state.
File an application packet for a non-profit organization with your state Secretary of State. A non-profit charity is considered a corporation, so generally application paperwork is directed to the corporations division of the Secretary of State. There is usually a small fee associated with filing.
And back to the Tax ID ...
Get a Federal Employer Identification Number (EIN). The EIN is the number the IRS uses to identify your organization for tax purposes. You’ll need the EIN on just about every form you fill out from now on, including IRS paperwork and grant submissions.
You can go here, and get the Tax ID online from the IRS: http://www.irs.gov/Businesses/Small-Businesses-&-Self-Employed/Apply-for-an-Employer-Identification-Number-(EIN)-Online
And the last step ... is the most complicated (BUT there are several firms that can do this in a turnkey fashion for you) ...
File with the Internal Revenue Service for recognition as a charitable organization. There are charitable organization application packets available online. The IRS reviews applications for recognition as a charitable organization on an ongoing basis, so you can apply for charitable status at any time.
If you're going to go this route ... I would recommend a company like Legal Zoom (I have no association with them other than have clients that have used them for this service with satisfaction) http://www.legalzoom.com/non-profits/non-profit-corporation-overview.html
An just to finish up here are some less "direct" but alternative ways to get this done:
From an excellent article here: http://nonprofit.about.com/od/nonprofitbasics/tp/nonprofitalternatives.htm
Hopefully, this helps. If you'll use an attorney ( or a company like legal zoom) to do the application for the 501(c)(3) status, forming your own non-profit corporation doesn't have to be daunting ... and this option will certainly give you the most control (and associated responsibility)
Let me know if I can help further
Hi Kathy, .. just checking back in, as I never saw you come into the chat.Let me know if you have questions.Lane
If this HAS helped, I would appreciate a feedback rating of 3 (OK) or better … That's the only way they will pay us here.
HOWEVER, if you need more on this, PLEASE COME BACK here, so you won't be charged for another question.
Yes. That was the answer I had already decided on, but just wanted to make sure I was understanding what I had read.