Exciting things are happening in Round Rock. Baseball great Nolan Ryan is moving the headquarters of his foundation here, which is going to be a great boon for our community, and a wonderful example of the good work that can be done through a family foundation.
Last month Nolan Ryan and his son Reece Ryan unveiled a statute of the famed pitcher outside of Dell Diamond, the home of the Texas Rangers’ AAA affiliate the Round Rock Express. The baseball team is just one of many businesses the Ryan family has developed in the area, and many Ryan family members live here, so it makes sense that they would move the foundation’s headquarters here from Ryan’s hometown of Alvin.
Community development is actually one of the foundation’s focus areas, which also concentrates on supporting youth and education. Since its establishment, the foundation has given over $750,000 to these worthy causes.
Foundations are a relatively advanced estate planning and tax minimizing technique, but more wealthy families should consider setting one up. Foundations give philanthropic-minded families a way to control how their wealth is used, and give people who are interested in getting help from the family a clearly-defined path for doing so. The family can choose how to distribute funds, giving grants directly or to other organizations.
A foundation is also a good way to get younger members of the family excited about philanthropy, and educated about asset management. Even very young members of the family can be designated junior advisors and allowed to have a say in how the foundation’s money is used.
Creating and running a family foundation is not easy. There are a lot of rules and regulations that must be followed precisely. Many families end up deciding it easier to support existing organizations.
One way to support an existing organization but still have some say over how a donation is used is to establish a donor advised fund within an existing organization. With a donor advised fund, the donor can put some conditions on their gift, or even be the person that gets to pick the fund’s beneficiaries each year.
It will be really interesting to see what plans the Nolan Ryan Foundation has for the future now that it is located here in Round Rock. It has done a lot of good work over the years, and is a great example of how a family foundation can do good work for the community and involve lots of members of the family in its operation.