I want to take some of the revenue that I generate with the for-profit business I'm starting, and use it to provide start-up social enterprises that I think are interesting with some funding to help them get off of their feet.
Legally/tax-wise, what's the best way to do this? Should I write these start-ups a check directly from my business account? Should I create a trust that I keep the money in and then distribute from when I find a company I'd like to invest in?
Also, what kind of regulations would be under if I asked for equity in return? Would it be better/easier to simply provide these businesses with low interest or forgivable loans?
This is a bit of a long reach ... but with the crowd-funding act now passed and SEC working on guidelines, perhaps you may consider using the social web to leverage your philothranpic activities. I'll toss an idea at you ... social-goals which in essence separates targetting from funding and implementation. Despite its flaws, one of the major structures of the Anglo-saxon world was the joint stock company which separated ownership from governance and management. One of the criticisms of govt implemented social programs was the lack of follow-through and short-termism in electoral cycle. Watch Rosling in GapMinder for an objective approach in measuring social inequities. So for it to work you
I find it shameful as a member of the human race that smart people with heart are being paid millions to game the financial system (leaving taxpayers to pick up tab) when there are so many tractable social problems out there.