Foundation recordkeeping is an inherently dull topic—unless it’s done wrong. The foundation manager who has not kept adequate documentation regarding expenditure responsibility grants will surely find an IRS audit more exciting than he might like. Similarly, a foundation manager confronted with a trustee succession battle will find the situation even more nerve-racking if she cannot put her hands on copies of the minutes of the meeting held years ago at which the succession issue was addressed and resolved.
Community foundations are grantmaking public charities that are dedicated to improving the lives of people in a defined local geographic area. They bring together the financial resources of individuals, families, and businesses to support effective nonprofits in their communities. Community foundations vary widely in asset size, ranging from less than $100,000 to more than $1.7 billion.
Community foundations play a key role in identifying and solving community problems. In 2011, they gave an estimated $4.3 billion to a variety of nonprofit activities in fields that included the arts and education, health and human services, the environment, and disaster relief. The Community Foundations National Standards Board confirms operational excellence in six key areas—mission, structure, and governance; resource development; stewardship and accountability; grantmaking and community leadership; donor relations; and communications. Foundations that comply with these standards can display the official National Standards Seal. Right now nearly 500 community foundations have earned the seal.
More than 750 community foundations operate in urban and rural areas in every state in the United States; currently, more than 570 belong to the Council on Foundations. The community foundation model also has taken hold around the world. According to the 2010 Community Foundation Global Status Report, there are 1,680 community foundations in 51 countries. Forty-six percent exist outside of the United States. You can use our Community Foundation Locator to view a list of community foundations in the United States.
Below is everything on our site for community foundations. We highly recommend that you use the navigation or our search feature to find what you're looking for on our site.
- What are the legal requirements for private foundations wishing to make cross-border grants?
- What are the legal requirements for public charities wishing to make cross-border grants?
- What are the advantages, disadvantages and likely costs of scholarship programs?
- What do the private foundation rules require, and how should community foundations apply the rules?
- What rules or procedures govern community foundation scholarship programs?
- Does a community foundation need to notify the IRS before starting a scholarship program?
With Congress and the media focusing on corporate governance and foundation administration, it is a good time to make sure that all grantmakers have a strong conflict of interest policy in place. Both private foundations and public charities (such as community foundations) should have clear guidelines on financial or other interests that must be disclosed and transactions that must be scrutinized or avoided. The policy should cover both board members and foundation staff.
On May 30, 2014, the Urban Institute’s Center on Nonprofits and Philanthropy conducted a survey of donor advised funds (DAFs) operated by community foundations. All community foundations with total assets of $5 million or more were invited to take the survey. When the survey closed on June 20, we had received complete or partial responses from 328 of the 607 eligible foundations. The results reported here are based on the 269 foundations (44.3%) that responded to most of the required questions on the survey.
The most comprehensive annual survey of its kind on private foundation investment practices and governance. The 153 foundations participating in the 2013 CCSF represent $94.1 billion in assets. Topics covered in the study include:
The Pension Protection Act of 2006 includes the first comprehensive regulation of donor advised funds. These requirements generally took effect at the beginning of the tax year following enactment of the Act, for charities that hold assets in such funds. However, a provision barring the payment from donor advised funds of grants, compensation and similar payments to donors, advisors, and persons related to them took effect immediately on August 17, 2006.
Thriving Philanthropy Makes Thriving Communities
There are several proposals being considered in Congress that have significant implications for philanthropy and its effectiveness in addressing some of our most pressing challenges. In addition to educating lawmakers in Washington, D.C., communicating the impact locally is just as important! Here are some ways your organization can spread the word about the correlation between philanthropy and thriving communities.
Letter to the Editor
Your giving program looks like a convenient vehicle for fulfilling personal charitable pledges. Here’s what you need to know about when to say “no.”