The Luzerne Foundation is recognized for having organizational and financial practices that are in accordance with the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations. The Council on Foundations and leaders of the community foundation field created the National Standards in 2000 to aid community foundations in establishing legal, ethical and effective operational practices that would show the foundations’ transparency and financial responsibility in light of the increased public scrutiny of foundation practices. In addition, National Standards were developed to distinguish community foundations from other philanthropic vehicles, build the capacity of community foundations to carry out their missions, and assist the field with self-regulation in a manner viewed positively by the Internal Revenue Service.
The National Standards seal, pictured here, was developed for community foundations to signify that they have been confirmed in compliance with National Standards. Professional advisors and prospective donors will recognize the seal as an indication of the integrity and demonstrated excellence of the compliant foundation.
In all, 26 National Standards must be met before compliance is issued. Intended both as a blueprint for internal organizational development and as a tangible set of benchmarks for external assessment of performance, the National Standards address the following keys areas of community foundation operations:
Structure & Governance – Reflects the independence and integrity of the organization’s board and staff in managing the foundation’s operations and assets. In review of their organizational and financial policies and procedures. The review is performed by trained, experienced community foundation practitioners.
Resource Development – Ensures that the organization receives a revenue stream that represents the diversity of citizen support.
Accountability – Assures that the organization complies with accountable financial record keeping and reporting disciplines, and prudent investment practices.
Grantmaking – Determines that the organization responds to community needs, and uses funds only for qualified charitable purposes.
Community Engagement – Assures that the organization demonstrates leadership and outreach to the community.
The Council on Foundations is a Washington, DC-based nonprofit membership association of more than 2,000 grantmaking foundations and corporations. The Council provides the opportunity, leadership and tools needed by philanthropic organizations to expand, enhance and sustain their ability to advance the common good. For more information on the Council, visit the organization’s website at www.cof.org.