All community foundations receiving accreditation must meet 26 National Standards. Updated in 2014, these standards show that the community foundation strives to achieve operational excellence.

Mission, Structure, & Governance

1

Meeting the Definition of a Community Foundation

A community foundation is a tax-exempt, nonprofit, autonomous, nonsectarian philanthropic institution supported by the public with the long-term goals of:

View more
2

An Independent Board that Reflects the Community

A community foundation has an independent governing body that ensures that the community foundation reflects and serves the breadth and diversity of the community.

View more
3

Foundation Control over Component Funds

A community foundation’s governing body retains variance power by which it may modify any restriction or condition on the distribution of assets, if circumstances warrant.

View more
4

Advance the Foundation's Mission, Strategy, and Policies

A community foundation’s governing body is responsible for the mission, strategic direction, and policies of a foundation.

View more
5

A Board and Staff that is Responsible for Operational Health

A community foundation's governing body ensures the financial health and sustainability of the foundation.

View more
6

A Board that Approves and Monitors Policies and Grants

A community foundation's governing body approves and monitors policies regulating the ethical operations of the community foundation, ensures that the community foundation meets all legal requirements, and approves all grants.

View more
7

A Board that is Independent

A community foundation's governing body is not controlled by any other nonprofit foundation.

View more
8

Board and CEO Compensation

A community foundation's governing body oversees a clearly articulated process for board governance and serves without compensation (exclusive of the chief executive officer). 

View more
9

A Board with Oversight and Control of Geographic Affiliates

A community foundation's governing body maintains oversight and control over geographic affiliates. 

View more

Resource Development

10

A Board and Staff Actively Developing Broad Support

A community foundation has, or is actively working to develop, broad support.

View more
11

The Board Secures Discretionary Resources

A community foundation has a long-term goal of securing discretionary resources to address the changing needs of the community it serves. 

View more
12

The Board Demonstrates Legal and Fiduciary Control

A community foundation's governing body has legal and fiduciary control over all contributions received, adopts appropriate gift and fund acceptance policies, and makes these policies available upon request.

View more

Stewardship & Accountability

13

A Board Oversees Fund Management and Financial Records

A community foundation is a steward of charitable funds, which invests and prudently manages funds and maintains accurate financial records. 

View more
14

The Board is Accountable and Transparent about Programs and Finances

A community foundation is accountable to the community it serves.

View more
15

The Foundation Maintains Fund Records

A community foundation maintains a written record of the terms and conditions of each component fund and all applicable records must reference the variance power. 

View more
16

Board and Staff Honor Donor Intent and the Law

A community foundation honors the charitable intentions of its donors.

View more
17

The Board Has and Makes Public the Annual Audit

A community foundation has an annual audit.

View more

Grantmaking

18

The Board Oversees Diverse Grantmaking

A community foundation operates a broad grant program.

View more
19

The Board's Discretionary Grants Respond to Community Needs

A community foundation awards some grants from its discretionary resources. 

View more
20

The Community Foundation Oversees Grantmaking Due Diligence

A community foundation performs due diligence to ensure that grants will be used for charitable purposes and assesses the impact of its grantmaking.

View more

Donor Relations

21

The Board Oversees Donor Education and Engagement

A community foundation educates and engages donors in identifying and addressing community issues and grantmaking opportunities.

View more
22

Foundation Provides Gift Acknowledgement and Fund Statement for Donors

A community foundation promptly and accurately acknowledges gifts and provides fund statements.

View more
23

Privacy & Confidentiality

A community foundation keeps all private information obtained with respect to donors and prospective donors confidential to the fullest extent possible. 

View more
24

The Board Displays Community Leadership

A community foundation identifies and addresses community issues and opportunities. 

View more
25

The Board Oversees Social Media and Communications

The community foundation communicates openly and transparently on a regular basis.

View more
26

The Board Oversees Advocacy and Lobbying Activities

When involved in advocacy or lobbying activities, the community foundation ensures it is in compliance with applicable federal and state regulations.

View more