Blog: Newsletters

Community Philanthropy Update - September 2021

Advancing the greater good often starts with investing in our local communities. The resources that community foundations hold, whether through agency funds, endowments, or donor-advised funds, have significant potential to shape the future and reflect the values of those communities. When grants from these funds deviate from the foundations’ beliefs and support groups who seek to divide rather than unite, community foundations risk their reputation and the trust of their donors and nonprofit partners.

Over the last several years, many Council members have asked for help in determining how to avoid funding organizations that might be considered hate groups. These member concerns informed and inspired our new Values-Aligned Philanthropy Initiative.

Earlier this month, we released a new white paper, "Values-Aligned Philanthropy: Foundations Resisting Hate and Extremism," and an accompanying resource hub of case studies, reports, and sample policies. These resources were developed with insight from community foundations, as well as other funders and experts around the country.

We hope you will learn from community foundation leaders who are ensuring that values inform all of their grantmaking, like the Cleveland Foundation and the Community Foundation of the Ozarks, both of which are featured as case studies in our new report.

We know community foundations are actively navigating challenges around donor intent, variance power, and funding organizations that may appear on one of many lists of hate groups. To hear from peer community foundation leaders about these issues, join us for an upcoming webinar on October 5.

At the Council, this work will continue into 2022 and the years beyond as part of our strategic aim to help philanthropy embrace better ways of operating. We hope you’ll leverage these new resources and continue to share feedback about how the Council can support your work.  

Warmly,

GEO_Signature_Enright

Kathleen Enright
President & CEO
president@cof.org

Upcoming Events

Council Events

Values-Aligned Philanthropy: Foundations Resisting Hate and Extremism
October 5
There has not been a significant analysis of the sector's activities regarding solutions to funding hate — until now. Join the Council for a webinar to discuss our recently published white paper and hear from leaders in the field.
Register Now >>

Career Pathways 2022 Program Information Session
October 6
Join us to learn about the expanding Career Pathways program and all it has to offer! During this session, expect to hear about the 2022 program schedule, virtual curriculum, and application process.
Register Now >>

2021 Public Policy Summit
November 4
The Council will equip foundation leaders and staff with the tools they need to leverage public policy to pursue equity, strengthen the sector, and advance the greater good. Top government officials and national policy experts will join leaders in philanthropy. All Council members are invited to attend at no cost!
Register Now >>

Legal Matters for Community Foundations
November 17-18
Led by the Council on Foundations Staff Counsel, Ben McDearmon, this workshop is flexibly organized to ensure that your broad legal questions for administering funds, grants, and community foundation activities are addressed. The legal team will provide a technical and practical understanding of complex rules and regulations.
Register Now >>

2021 Member Meeting
December 2
Join us for an annual meeting during the Council's Member Week (December 1-8) to hear a keynote speech from the 2021 Distinguished Service Award winner and a State of the Council address from Kathleen Enright — plus, vote on new additions to the Council's Board of Directors. 
Register Now >>

Community Foundation Excellence Fundamentals
December 8, 9, 15, and 16
A well-trained staff and an informed board are critical to the success of community foundations in our fast-changing world. This traditionally in-person, two-day course was adapted to four virtual half-day sessions to help new and growing foundation stakeholders build the essential skills they need.
Register Now >>

Partner Events

2021 Annual National Conference for Growing Community Foundations
October 13-15
Join the Kansas Association of Community Foundations for a three-day exploration of the theme "Heart of Community," with ample networking opportunities. This event will now be presented entirely virtually.
Register Now >>

Virtual CFLeads Fall Forum
October 19-20

This year's forum for community foundation leaders will be held virtually and will offer opportunities for engagement and participation by all community foundation board members, staff, and leadership. 
Register Now >>

Member Spotlight




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Oklahoma City Community Foundation

Oklahoma City suffered a difficult 2020-2021 winter, with inclement weather conditions such as ice storms threatening the city’s ecosystem. In response, OCCF has launched Releaf 2021, an initiative to revive the city’s plant life, and Rebloom Oklahoma, a program that distributes daffodil bulbs to parks, schools, and libraries.


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The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven

To advance racial equity throughout the region of Greater New Haven and the state of Connecticut, CFGNH has announced the inaugural class of its BIPOC Cohort for Nonprofit Leadership program. The program was developed in partnership with UConn. CFGNH is proud to support and coach 10 nonprofit leaders of color to reach the next step in their career journey.


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The Denver Foundation

The Denver Foundation has established endowments totaling $1M to build long-term growth and resilience for Capitol Hill United Neighborhoods, the oldest and best-known neighborhood organization in the city of Denver. Philanthropic partnerships like these exemplify the mission-aligned investments that build long-term sustainability for communities.



Have a story of impact you want to share? Email us at communityfoundations@cof.org.

News & Resources

Trending Philanthropy Exchange Conversations

Contact Tucker Rush (tucker.rush@cof.org) to learn more about a new Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) Learning Community for community foundations, led by the Central Florida Community Foundation. Although the Philanthropy Exchange is available exclusively to Council members, the SDG Learning Community is open to both Council members and nonmembers.


Legal Question of the Month with Ben McDearmon, Staff Counsel

Question: Can a community foundation establish an agency endowment fund for a 501(c)(4) organization?  

ben-mcdearmon-2018-500x500Answer:

It is not recommended that community foundations establish an agency endowment for a non-charity such as a 501(c)(4). In general, agency endowments should only be established for public charities or equivalents. The reason for this is that a typical agency endowment automatically makes regular distributions to the beneficiary organization without any additional oversight or due diligence on the part of the community foundation. This is possible when the beneficiary is a charitable organization because you can rely on the organization’s exempt status to ensure its use of the distributed funds will be exclusively charitable. However, if the beneficiary is a non-charity, you can’t presume its use of the funds distributed from the endowment would further a charitable purpose, since the organization’s activities are not inherently charitable. There would need to be some additional due diligence conducted for every distribution from the endowment. That rules out an agency endowment, at least the way most community foundations administer them.

Council Members are encouraged to send any legal inquiries to legal@cof.org.


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