Lucio Saffaro, in foreseeing his imminent demise in 1998, chose to deposit his last will and testament with a notary. He nominated Professor Giovanni Maria Accame and Professor Attorney Federico Carpi as the executors of his last will and testament so as they would form an archive or a foundation meant to preserve the collection of all his works. He had no inheritors, so, he appointed his two friends to carry out his last will, partly because they had the appropriate skills both for the artistic part and for the legal issues. This clearly must have been thought of by the artist for the best interest in the preservation of his works. One year after his death, on 16th December 1999, once every legal prescription was fulfilled, the Lucio Saffaro Foundation (Fondazione Lucio Saffaro) was officially instituted. Besides the two appointed executors, the selected members forming the Board of Directors were: one representative of the University of Bologna, one representative of the Municipality of Bologna and the director of the Civico Museum Revoltella (Civico Museo Revoltella) of Trieste, the artist's hometown. Currently the Board of Directors includes Professor Federico Carpi (President) and the following members: Prof. Roberto Balzani (delegate of the Rector of the University of Bologna), Prof. Lorenzo Balbi (delegate of the Mayor of the Municipality of Bologna), Prof. Claudio Cerrittelli (appointed by the Academy of Brera), Dr. Mauro Felicori (currently concillor for culture of the Region Emilia-Romagna), Prof. Giovanna Pesci Enriques. Prof. Fabio Roversi Monaco is honorary president, while Astrid Merlini is general secretary and Prof. Gisella Vismara is artistic secretary. The Professor Giovanni Maria Accame, President of the Foundation from 1999 to 2011, was appointed Honorary President shortly before his death.
In addition to the preservation and to the cataloguing of all Saffaro's artistic and literary works, the Foundation also intends to extend the cultural value of his art, by organizing or promoting exhibitions and by publishing catalogues and books. Furthermore, not only does the institution organize monographic exhibitions, but also it aims at integrating the artist's figure in a wider context. It also encourages cultural projects which are in connection with Lucio Saffaro's artistic and scientific interests. In 2000, in fact, an exhibition with the works by Escher and Saffaro was organized by the Department of Mathematical Sciences of the University of Bologna (Dipartimento di Matemaica dell'Università degli Studi di Bologna), at the University Library. As a direct consequence of the shown interest by the University, the Foundation has decided to entrust the Department of Mathematical Sciences with his three-dimensional cardboard models, made by Saffaro to study polyhedrons. In 2004, an anthological exhibition of Saffaro's works, accompanied by an exhaustive catalogue, took place at the Museum of Palazzo Poggi (Museo di Palazzo Poggi), of the University of Bologna. In the same year the Saffaro Foundation and the University signed a convention which made it possible to transfer the artist’s entire body of work (on a loan basis) to the Palazzo Poggi Museum, where the works are on display from time to time.