Meeting National Standards May Be a Test, But There Are Benefits at the End
By Emily Jones Rushing, Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham
The first community foundation was established almost 100 years ago, so this type of public endowment has truly passed the test of time. Following National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations helps applicants pass other important tests, making sure their policies and practices match the highest quality of service and accountability.
The establishment of National Standards was a voluntary effort to raise the bar on common practices among community foundations. We view the National Standards seal as a mark of excellence and accountability and the standards themselves as a way to affirm best practices in everything from financial accounting to confidentiality agreements, donor education to annual reports.
For the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham and the other 500 community foundations now in compliance, these practices are part of achieving our mission and serving the generous individuals, families, and businesses looking to partner with us to improve our region. As we found when we qualified for the National Standards designation, our operations were already in line with the best practices of our peers, but we continue to work hard to make sure we stay in compliance.
National Standards creates a commonality across our field and opens doors to greater recognition for the power of community foundations as a flexible partner in philanthropy. People all over the United States can turn to their local community foundation for a recognized level of excellence and the local knowledge to help them make the most of their giving.
As charitable regulations change and the expectations of our generous community grow, we pledge to continue to meet and surpass benchmarks for quality in operations and service. This is work we want to do because we know that national standards for community foundations helps us all drive positive change and transform our communities.