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It sounds like you would like to create a private foundation. After having an attorney set up the paper work for the foundation, you apply to the IRS for a ruling that states the foundation is a charitable organization. You could then contribute to the organization and take the charitable deduction on your own return (subject to various rules to numerous to discuss here in this forum). The foundation is then subject to various tests (found on the annual Form 990) to make sure that it is a charitable organization. Quick and dirty, anything in the foundation that is not used for charitable purposes is taxed.

How much money is realistic? That depends on your personal situation. Any amount may fund the foundation. How much do you want to accomplish through the foundation? How much would it take in "seed" funds to arrive your foundation goals?

Once the principle is set aside for charity, can I ever use it for anything else. No, the foundation will control the use of the funds. Uses outside charitable purposes are taxed or penalized, depending on the transaction.

Pointers to info sources are appreciated. Sorry, can't think of a source off the top of my head that is accessable via the internet.

Hope this helps.

Please discuss your thoughts and aspirations with competent legal or tax counsel before you commit funds and time to your endeavor.

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