"The foundation is the act by which one or more natural or legal persons decide the irrevocable appropriation of property, rights or resources to the realization of a work of general interest and non-profit" (Article 18 of Law 87-571 of 23 July 1987 on the development of patronage). Today in France there are seven forms of foundations, plus the endowment fund.
The law of 4 July 1990 has limited the use of this term to three forms of organisation :
- The Public Benefit Foundation
- The corporate foundation
- The foundation housed by an authorized organization (or “sub-umbrella” foundation).
More recently, four more specialized statuses, but inspired by the three preexisting ones, were born:
- Scientific Cooperation Foundation
- The Partnership Foundation
- The University Foundation
- The Hospital Foundation
In addition, a new legal entity was created in 2008, the endowment fund.
The Council of State, in a notice of March 13, 2012, issued on May 15, 2012, approved the standard articles of association of foundations recognized as being of public utility. The operation may optionally be entrusted to a Management Board and a Supervisory Board or a Board of Directors (see standard models).
The attached synoptic table, reproduced with the kind permission of Stéphane Couchoux (associate lawyer at FIDAL), presents the main features of the seven types of foundation currently in force in France and the endowment fund.
For all questions relating to foundations, please consult the French Centre des fonds et fondations website: www.cf-fondation.fr