An LLC is the easiest (I can put one together in 30mins online), but I don’t think it would meet our needs.
I really think something in the nonprofit space is necessary. An unspecified non-profit corporation would be the next “easiest” that meets our needs, but it’s not that much extra work to create a foundation, and (IMHO) is easier to manage going forward than an unspecified corporation. Again, assuming USA here.
The only things needed for a non-profit is a board and a registered agent (who is almost always one of the board members or a lawyer). There are some differences state-by-state, but in general you need at least three board members, and the president and secretary cannot be the same person.
So to create a nonprofit you need:
(1) Select your board, and who will be the point of contact for any/all paperwork with the gov’t (ie the “registered agent”).
(2) Agree on an Articles of Incorporation (I have templates; it’s easy)
(3) File paperwork with your state (usually done online in 15-20 mins, for a $50-$100 fee)
(4) Get an EIN from the IRS (15 minutes online, no charge)
To be a recognizable foundation, there’s one extra step:
(5) File for 501c3 status as a foundation (can be done online, is a one-time $500 fee). Then you wait 2-6 months for the IRS to process it. You don’t have to wait for them to process it to continue operations; you just have to have it filed. The IRS back-dates your tax-deductible status to the day you filed the paperwork.