When Private is Public and Public is Private
Does it seem odd to anyone that Private charities like the Private Family Foundation is require to be fully disclosed? So, if you have a Family Foundation the checks out the door are required Public Disclosure form called a Form 990 by the Treasury. On the other hand does it seem odd to anyone that a Public Charity like Donor Advised Fund or Community Foundation does not have to disclose its distributions? There is a way the Private can keep things private by using the pass through process of donor advised fund to pay out it's required minimum 5% payments.
A good place to learn about non-profits and the Foundations is GuideStar . Your local Community Foundation may also have resources for your local market. If you on the other are looking at starting a Private Family Foundation then why? Start with the way? If it's about getting family members involved realize there are less expensive and effective ways. If your why is about control and management then you are thinking correctly and just need to understand the costs and limitations for gifts. Another important consideration is the time horizon for the Foundation. There are start up and closing costs and annual filings and administration fees. Regulatory headaches are one of the key barriers to setting up and running such a organization. One book I found helpful early on in this evaluation process is "Creating a Private Foundation" The essential guide for donors and their advisors published by Bloomberg Press and Silk and Lintott.
Remember there are lots of people offering advice on technical issues and the biggest failure we have seen comes from soft issues not hard issues. Family dysfunction, distrusting advisors fighting, ego battles on control and who get to make even little decisions. We have found having a family therapist or third party engaged to see the soft issue resolved may be the best investment return for those wishing to help others with a Private Foundation.