National Standards and the Effective Community Foundation


Community foundations do wonderful things for their communities. They gather gifts from people with charitable hearts, grow those gifts through wise investments, and they distribute grants to nonprofits that deal with the issues, challenges, and needs of the people in the community. Trust is an important factor in building a community foundation. People need to know that when they make a charitable bequest, create a fund or make a gift it will be safe, their charitable wishes will be achieved, and their legacies will be nurtured. At the Community Foundation for the Great River Bend, we take this very seriously.

The best way for a community foundation to show trustworthiness is to meet the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations as established by the Council on Foundations. Meeting the National Standards shows that your foundation has achieved the nation’s highest philanthropic standards for operational quality, integrity and accountability. The Community Foundation of the Great River Bend has met the National Standards. We were reconfirmed in August.

This week, I joined reviewers from other community foundations across the nation at the headquarters of the Council on Foundations to examine 30 reconfirmation record books from foundations — records showing their processes and practices as required to meet National Standards. The reviewers I worked with this week went through the records of foundations as they documented their policies for donor services, investments, grantmaking and administration. It’s a painstaking project to apply for National Standards, and it was fascinating for the reviewers to see what other foundations are doing as they pursue best practices. We’re proud to be part of it, and glad to help other organizations reach for such high standards as they work hard to do great things for their communities.

Guest blogger Susan Skora is the President and CEO of the Community Foundation of the Great River Bend. She is pictured above on the left with Diane Miller, National Standards Manager.