During this year’s Community Foundation Week, I’m reflecting on the innovative model of philanthropy that is the community foundation. When I joined the Council in April 2016, I was new to the philanthropic sector. However, coming from an organization where I was providing direct legal representation to the most underserved populations, the community foundation concept was something I could wrap my head around and get excited about.
Unlike private or corporate foundations, which typically receive resources from a single source such as a family or company, community foundations are supported by a broad base of community members who bring together and leverage the financial resources of individuals, families, and businesses in support of the communities they serve. This is what makes community foundations so unique and invaluable.
The community foundation field is one of the fastest growing in the philanthropic sector in the United States, and I see this play out every day via my work in the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations accreditation program.
The National Standards Program is the only program of its kind for community foundations in the United States, and we are proud that 92% of the nation’s largest community foundations have chosen to participate. Community foundations receive accreditation by meeting specific benchmarks for quality in operations and service that help distinguish them from entities providing similar services.
By codifying a high bar for conduct, ethics, transparency, and compliance, the community foundation leaders who founded the National Standards Program established a framework designed to exceed the expectations of lawmakers, and the public, for strict adherence to the law, in service to donors and communities nationwide. The National Standards Program has always been “by the field, for the field.” Please join me this week—and every week—in celebrating this and community foundations across the country.