Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation recently received notification that it has met the nation’s highest philanthropic standards for operational quality, integrity and accountability. The notice comes from the Community Foundations National Standards Board, a national accreditation organization based in Arlington, Va.
“This is similar to the Good Housekeeping Seal for community foundations,” said Diane Miller, Manager of the Community Foundations National Standards Board. “It says that Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation has demonstrated a commitment to operational quality, integrity and accountability.”
The National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations program requires community foundations to document their policies for donor services, investments, grantmaking and administration. With over 200 community foundations already confirmed in compliance nationwide, the program is designed to provide quality assurance to donors, as well as to their legal and financial advisors.
“This is critically important to our donors,” said Joedy Hightower, Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation president. “When people make a charitable bequest or establish a fund they are putting their trust in us. They are counting on us to manage the investment wisely, honor their charitable wishes and, in some cases, provide lifetime income to a loved one. The National Standards confirmation says our house is in order.”
Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation was established in 1999 as a result of a partnership between the Effingham County Community Foundation (est. 1999) and the Mattoon Area Community Foundation (est. 1990). Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation operates as a collection of permanent and non-permanent funds for the long-term benefit of Clark, Clay, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, Effingham, Fayette, Jasper, Lawrence, Richland and Shelby counties in Southeastern Illinois, allowing donors to advance a cause such as education or the environment, support an individual organization, provide flexible support for community needs or recommend individual grants. In addition to affirming the organization’s philanthropic services, the confirmation validates Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation’s grantmaking practices for the nonprofit community.
“Some say it’s easier to create wealth than to give money away wisely,” said Scott Lensink, Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation board chair. There’s some truth in that. Grantmaking is a lot like investing… we need to assess risks, weigh potential gains, diversify assets, monitor performance and operate fairly. When you see the National Standards Seal, you can be assured that we’re committed to meeting the highest standards for grantmaking as well.”
The National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations program is the first of its kind for charitable foundations in the United States. Through philanthropic services, strategic investments and community leadership, Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation helps people support the causes they care about, now and for generations to come.