The Community Foundation of Howard County recently received accreditation renewal with the nation’s highest standard for philanthropic excellence. National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations® establish legal, ethical, effective practices for community foundations everywhere.
“This was an important exercise for our foundation to undertake,” stated Beverly White-Seals, CEO and President of CFHoCo. “The application process demanded that we clarify and update quite a few CFHoCo policies. It was a team effort, but considerable work was done by Jay Vidyarthi, our Operations Manager with the assist of Dee Athey, Director of Grants and Community Engagement Jay’s legal background certainly came in handy.”
National Standards accreditation represents operational effectiveness to foster excellence in community philanthropy. It’s achieved in two ways. First, standards for operationally and legally sound community foundations are created. Second, community foundation staff and boards are led through the process of achieving operational excellence. With confidence in their operations, community foundations can innovate and take risks necessary to solve complex problems.
“Due to this accreditation, not only will we be able to publicly display our certificate of accreditation, but we will be able to participate in the State of Maryland’s ENDOW Program which is only available to accredited community foundations,” White-Seals said.
Endow Maryland is a Maryland state tax credit that rewards donors who help build permanent charitable funds at qualified community foundations in Maryland. A gift of at least $500 to any endowed fund at CFHoCo may qualify for a 25% state tax credit on your next tax return. There are limited credits available each year, so we encourage anyone who is interested to contact us promptly.
VALUE OF NATIONAL STANDARDS ACCREDIDATION
- Evidence of Excellence: The dollars set aside for charity are limited and precious. The institutions that donors choose to support must be credible and trustworthy. As a symbol of excellence and rigor, the National Standards Seal helps philanthropists and their professional advisers recognize and choose community foundations as a sound place to give and make a difference.
- Accountability: Community foundations of all sizes use National Standards as a roadmap to establish legal, ethical, effective practices that withstand the scrutiny of donors, government and media. Over time, National Standards have become an important resource for developing new and emerging community foundations.
- Impact: National Standards set consistent expectations among community foundation boards and practitioners, helping them focus and make effective use of time and talent. They also provide a framework for documenting, communicating and providing training and technical assistance to advance best practices.
- Distinction: Community foundations use National Standards to distinguish themselves from entities that provide similar services. When community foundations work together regionally or nationally to build awareness of their unique value, standards reduce the risk of doing so by ensuring all participants have met benchmarks for quality in operations and service.
The Community Foundation of Howard County serves as a knowledgeable, trusted partner that forges connections between donors and nonprofit organizations to provide impactful investments in Howard County. The foundation has awarded more than $17 million in grants to organizations delivering human service, arts and cultural, educational and civic programs. Money for the grant programs comes primarily from income generated by the foundation’s endowment supported by more than 300 funds established by Howard County businesses, families and individuals. For more information, visit CFHoCo.org or call 410-730-7840.