Public Charities

Navigating the intricate process of forming a charitable organization can be challenging, requiring legal guidance to ensure a solid foundation. At Chisholm Law, we understand the unique complexities involved in creating and sustaining a public charity.

Our dedicated team is here to build a supportive relationship with you, providing comprehensive assistance to simplify the legal aspects of this transformative journey. From setting up governance structures to navigating tax-exempt status and compliance requirements, we are committed to being your trusted advocates in bringing your charitable vision to life.

Public Charities


Initiating a nonprofit scholarship organization can be an impactful means of offering financial support to deserving students, aiding them in reaching their academic and career aspirations. Establishing such an organization allows you to play a significant role in enhancing education and creating opportunities within your community.

Our law firm helps to ensure proper management of your nonprofit scholarship organization and the equitable and transparent awarding of scholarships. This commitment guarantees peace of mind and the enduring impact of your organization.

Don't let the intricacies of launching a nonprofit scholarship organization hinder your progress. Reach out to our law firm today, and let us transform your vision into reality.

Grants to Individuals

A nonprofit grant-making organization can be a potent force in providing financial aid to individuals in need and supporting them in achieving their goals. Launching such an organization allows you to make a meaningful difference in the lives of these individuals and foster opportunities in your community.

Leveraging our law firm's extensive experience in guiding clients through the process of establishing nonprofit grant-making organizations, we offer support at every stage. From selecting an appropriate name and organizing your board of directors to navigating paperwork and securing tax-exempt status, we provide comprehensive assistance.

Our law firm helps to ensure proper formation of your nonprofit grant-making organization and the fair and transparent allocation of grants through proper legal structure. This commitment ensures peace of mind and the enduring impact of your organization.

Don't let the complexities of starting a nonprofit grant-making organization impede your progress.

Contact our law firm today, and let us help you turn your vision into a reality. ➔

Program Development

As a nonprofit organization, it's imperative to have well-crafted programs in place to achieve your goals and serve your intended beneficiaries. Developing effective programs is crucial to meeting the needs of your community and making a positive impact.

Well-developed programs offer numerous benefits to your organization, attracting funding and support from donors and grantmakers, enhancing visibility, and bolstering credibility. They ensure that your organization is making a meaningful difference in the lives of those you serve.


Want to learn more? Explore all our nonprofit formation services:

Public Charities vs. Private Foundations

Understanding the distinctions between public charities and private foundations is crucial for individuals and entities navigating the realm of philanthropy and nonprofit organizations/charitable programs. These two classifications differ in their structures, funding sources, and operational focus.


  • Structure and Funding: Public charities are organizations that derive a substantial portion of their financial support from publicly collected funds pulled from sources including the general public, corporations, and the government. They are typically grassroots-driven and have a broad base of support. These organizations often engage in direct service activities and are actively involved in the communities they serve.
  • Operational Focus: Public charities are required to operate for the benefit of the general public. Their mission and activities are geared towards serving the community at large. Public charities commonly undertake activities such as educational programs, healthcare services, relief efforts, and other initiatives that directly impact the public welfare.
  • Public Support Test: Unlike private foundations, public charities must meet the public support test, which ensures that they receive a significant portion of their funding from diverse public sources. This test helps maintain their status as organizations primarily serving public interests.


  • Structure and Funding: Private foundations, on the other hand, are typically funded by a single source, such as an individual, family, or corporation. They are often endowed with a significant amount of assets and operate independently of ongoing public support. Private foundations can be established for various purposes, including supporting charitable causes or addressing specific social issues.
  • Operational Focus: Private foundations have more flexibility in determining their areas of focus. While they are still required to benefit the public, their activities may be more project-specific or niche-oriented. Private foundations commonly engage in grantmaking activities, providing financial support to public charities and other qualifying entities.
  • Distribution Requirement: Private foundations must meet an annual distribution requirement by law, directing a minimum percentage of their assets toward charitable activities. This ensures that the resources of private foundations actively contribute to the public good. There are more limitations on donations to a private foundation, so consult with an attorney to familiarize yourself with those guidelines.

The primary distinction lies in the source of funding, with public charities relying on broad public support and private foundations typically being supported by a single entity. While both play vital roles in advancing philanthropic efforts, understanding these differences is fundamental for those seeking to establish, support, or collaborate with nonprofit organizations.

In navigating the complexities of establishing either a public charity or a private foundation, seeking legal counsel is paramount. Whether ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements, crafting effective governance structures, or addressing specific legal nuances, legal insight is instrumental in laying the foundation for a successful and impactful philanthropic endeavor.

Steps to Form Public Charitable Organizations

  1. Define Mission and Purpose: Clearly articulate the organization's mission and purpose, ensuring alignment with charitable goals.
  2. Board of Directors: Recruit a diverse and qualified board of directors to oversee the organization's operations and decision-making.
  3. Choose a Legal Structure: Select a suitable legal structure, such as a nonprofit corporation, and register it with the appropriate state authorities.
  4. Draft Bylaws: Develop comprehensive bylaws outlining the organization's internal governance structure, decision-making processes, and operational guidelines.
  5. Apply for Identification Number: Obtain an EIN from the IRS, which is essential for tax reporting and other administrative purposes.
  6. Registration and Filing Requirements for Tax-Exempt Status: To comply with the Internal Revenue Code, public charities must submit the required IRS forms to seek recognition as a tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3).
  7. State Compliance: Comply with state-specific requirements for charitable organizations, including registration and reporting obligations.
  8. Develop Financial Controls: Establish financial controls and accounting systems to ensure transparency and compliance with financial regulations.
  9. Public Charity Status: Demonstrate compliance with the public support test to maintain status as a public charity.
  10. Ongoing Compliance: Stay informed about and adhere to ongoing compliance requirements, including annual reporting and regulatory updates.

Why Legal Counsel is Important When Forming a Public Charitable Organization

  • Compliance Assurance: Legal counsel helps ensure that the organization complies with federal and state laws governing nonprofits, reducing the risk of legal issues.
  • Formalizing Governance: Lawyers assist in drafting bylaws and other governance documents, ensuring clarity and alignment with legal standards.
  • Tax-Exempt Status Application: Legal professionals guide the organization through the intricate process of applying for tax-exempt status, maximizing the chances of approval.
  • Conflict Resolution: In the event of internal disputes or conflicts, legal counsel provides guidance on conflict resolution mechanisms and legal remedies.
  • Financial Governance: Legal professionals help establish robust financial controls, ensuring transparency and compliance with financial regulations.

Seeking legal counsel during the formation of a public charity is an investment in the organization's long-term success, providing insight to navigate legal complexities and establish a solid foundation for charitable endeavors.

Contact Chisholm Law Today

Starting a public charity involves many complexities. Chisholm Law is here to make things easier for you. Our team wants to build a supporting relationship with you as we guide you through the process. From setting up the right structures to ensuring you comply with rules, we've got your back.

Don't go through this alone—reach out to Chisholm Law today. Let us be your supporters in creating a charity that makes a real difference. Your vision deserves the support of legal professionals who understand the nonprofit world.

“We Are Proud Of Our 100% Success Rate For Our Nonprofit Filings 99.9% Success Rate for Trademark Filings Since 2010.*”


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