No. of Recommendations: 1
Based on the limited amount of info, I don't think either a Private Foundation ("PF") or a Donor Advised Fund ("DAF") sounds right for you. Generally, people use DAFs and PF to get a charitable deduction now and make the grants over time later. Or, they use them to set up a legacy that their family usually fulfills (and gets the emotional and social benefit of fulfilling it).

Some reasons:
1. You don't have high AGI - so you don't need a charitable deduction.
2. You don't have sufficient assets to justify the expenses and hassles of a PF.
3. A DAF (or PF) is good if you need the deduction now and want to direct contributions later. Again, you don't need the deduction, and it sounds like you want to grant/award the money now (to see it in action).
4. You and your SO have no family to carry out your intent after your death. Who will manage the PF or make recommendations to the DAF after you pass? Why bother with that then? Most DAFs roll th emoney into their general fund when the family recommenders pass.
5. Importantly, scholarship grants (as opposed to grants to charitable organizations) are a "PITA" for PFs and DAFs to administer. A scholarship is a distribution to an individual and strict requirements must be followed for it to be permitted. To overly summarize, PFs must obtain IRS pre-approval of the proposed scholarship program (which likely will involve an independent majority committee). I believe the DAF must have at least a majority of independent committee members and again, you must have a procedure in place to insure the application process is fair and nondiscriminatory. Say you really like one applicant that doesn't meet the criteria - tough you can't make the grant. Meeting these requirements costs money.
6. Again, when you are gone, who is on the PF committee and DAF committees. Many DAFs will just move your money into their general fund.
7. You'll definitely need legal advice ($$) for a PF and the pre-approval. A DAF might be willing to navigate the rules for you and pick up the costs.
8. If I were a local PF I wouldn't except your restrictions. Plus, again, they aren't going to pay for a pre-approved scholarship program to make your gifts.
9. If you are thinking making "loans" to kids (even 0 interest) forget about it - exceedingly high PITA factor for PFs. Foundations aren't equipped to navigate the debtor-creditor rules. When they do do this (for big money) they usually hire an outside service provider to administer the loans(i.e., more fees).

1. DIY Project. Take out an ad, contact the local high school, or get creative and do a private scholarship. You control everything. Pay the school for tuition directly, and it isn't a gift. Keep it under the annual exclusion, and it isn't a gift ($15k each per year). Downside. You get no deduction and will require you to do some work. But, you will have a much higher "feel good" factor. You might work with a local group who will partner with you on this and do the work.
2. Easy Route. Contact a college(s) (University/college planned giving director) and create an endowed scholarship. The school will award the scholarship pursuant to your guidelines - in your name if you want. Much less work for you, but you will not control who receives it. Scholarships will be limited to the school you work with. You will pay no legal fees. You will get a deduction. Small schools might be more eager to work with you with this amount of money.
3. Note, gifts from you are not taxable income to student. Scholarships from a school, PF or DAF that exceed tuition and fees are income to the student.

Kudos to you for your charitable intent.
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