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Council on Foundations Recognizes Lenawee Community Foundation for Compliance with National Accountability Standards

After an extensive review, the Lenawee Community Foundation was recently recertified by the Council on Foundations as fulfilling the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations.  The certification documents the nation’s highest philanthropic standards for operational quality, donor services, integrity, and accountability.  Lenawee Community Foundation is one of 50 Michigan community foundations that meet the national benchmarks, and among the 60% of U.S. community foundations that have achieved this designation.

The Council on Foundations is a national, nonprofit association of more than 2,000 grant-making organizations, including over 700 community foundations.  In addition to verifying legal, ethical and effective operational practices, and documenting community foundation transparency and financial responsibility, National Standards distinguish community foundations from other philanthropic vehicles, and increase the capacity of community foundations to carry out their missions.

The National Standards seal, pictured here, was developed to signify confirmation of compliance with National Standards. Professional advisors, donors, and prospective donors recognize and choose these community foundations as sound places to give and to make a difference.

“Adopting and adhering to the highest standards reinforces our ongoing commitment to maintaining the trust of our donors and our community,” said David Hickman, Chairman of the Board of the Lenawee Community Foundation.  “Our Board of Directors has always been committed to serving our community with integrity and competence, and the recertification of compliance to National Standards emphasizes this commitment.”

Sue Hammersmith, President & CEO, added “Our mission is to enhance the quality of life of the citizens of Lenawee County through permanent endowments in five areas – civic projects, culture, health, education, and social services.  Although we provide grants to address current needs, most of our funds are permanently invested for the future of our community.  It’s exciting to be the only nonprofit in Lenawee County that serves in essence, as a savings account for Lenawee’s future, and to assure our community that we operate with the highest standards for excellence.”

The National Standards were developed both as a blueprint for internal organizational development and as a tangible set of benchmarks for external assessment of performance.  The 41 National Standards address six key areas of community foundation operations:

  • Mission, Structure and Governance, including standards defining board responsibilities and accountability, independence, fiduciary responsibility, and representation of the community.
  • Resource Development, including parameters for administration of funds, disclosures to donors, and commitment to building long-term resources for varied community issues and causes.
  • Stewardship and Accountability, covering prudent investment and management of funds, transparent record-keeping, use of funds for their intended purpose, annual audits, and public availability of financial information.
  • Grantmaking and Community Leadership, including standards related to broad and open grantmaking programs, responsiveness to community needs, and due diligence to assure that donor intent is honored.
  • Donor Relations, encompassing guidelines for informing, acknowledging, and involving donors in responding to community needs.
  • Communications, including openness and frequent communication about activities and finances.

The Lenawee Community Foundation provides personalized service to individuals, businesses, organizations, and communities to help them achieve their charitable goals.  Additionally, donors and prospects receive local expertise, unique giving solutions, and a community partner and leader that is in the business of building community – For good. For ever.

For more information about the Lenawee Community Foundation or fulfilling your charitable wishes contact Sue Hammersmith.