Field Comment Period Extended for Proposed Revisions to National Standards

Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Arlington, VA

The Community Foundations National Standards Board (CFNSB) announces an extension to the public comment period for the Proposed Revised National Standards. These revisions are being made as part of a five-year review cycle and will remain open to public comment until February 26, 2014.

The revision cycle ensures that the standards remain relevant and up-to-date as the community foundation field and philanthropic sector continue to evolve and innovate. Standards Action Team (SAT) members devoted many hours to reviewing critiques and recommendations provided by their peers. The December 2013 draft revision represents their best efforts at capturing the sentiments of the broad field on how to improve the National Standards.

The response thus far provides invaluable feedback about how the proposed changes will impact stakeholders, and the National Standards Board is grateful to those who have participated. Due to the high level of interest thus far, the CFNSB has taken the decision to extend the comment period to ensure that the entire field has the opportunity to consider the SAT proposal in detail and provide comment.

The proposed revisions are available for review online, and we invite stakeholders to submit comments using the online form by February 26, 2014. Please note that we are specifically seeking comments on the proposed definition of community foundations; two are offered for discussion and review. The SAT appreciates that this remains an area of discussion and wanted to widen the circle for our colleagues to comment.

The SAT felt they had a clear mandate from the field to create an easier-to-use system of organizing and referring to the standards and to reduce or consolidate the number of standards wherever possible without compromising their substance and integrity. It is important to be aware that this survey request specifically relates to the SAT's proposed revised National Standards - not to the accreditation process associated with the Standards.

Many suggestions were received regarding how to streamline and improve the process of review and accreditation. Those suggestions have been organized and shared with the CFNSB. The CFNSB will continue its efforts to streamline and refine the process, both to make it easier for community foundations of all sizes to participate and to continue to ensure that standards reflect the tension between best and most effective practices. The SAT's charge was to assess and propose the revised National Standards by which community foundations will be accredited. Once the revisions are finalized and approved by the Council, the Community Foundation National Standards Board will work to streamline the National Standards submission process.

The final revisions will be announced at the 2014 Council on Foundations Fall Conference for Community Foundations in Cleveland, Ohio.

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About National Standards

The National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations™ provide community foundations with a way to distinguish themselves from entities that provide similar services such as donor advised funds and scholarship funds. No other grantmaking bodies or foundation types have worked together to identify sound polices and accountable practices to be measured against. Community foundations’ efforts to self-regulate are viewed positively by the Internal Revenue Service, which has increased its scrutiny of charities especially those offering donor advised funds.

For twenty years, the idea of community foundations self-regulating their activities has been an important topic in the philanthropic community. In the United States, community foundations serve tens of thousands of donors, administer more than $40 billion in charitable funds, and address the core concerns of more than 700 communities and regions. With such a presence—nationally and within local communities—comes responsibility. The National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations mark an individual and collective commitment and an outward sign that community foundations take this responsibility very seriously.

The National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations™ were adopted in 2000 by the Council on Foundations. The formal confirmation of compliance process began in 2005 with community foundations declaring their intent to comply. In 2009, the Council’s board approved the governing documents of the Community Foundations National Standards Board, a Type I supporting organization of the Council on Foundations. The CFNSB’s mission is to carry out and advance The National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations™ accreditation process by ensuring the integrity of the process and building the value of confirmation of compliance for the community foundation field and greater community.

For more information about National Standards accreditation, visit http://www.cof.org/content/national-standards-us-community-foundations.