WCCF Receives National Recognition for Philanthropic Excellence

February 06, 2020

National Standards For U S  Community Foundations Seal 2020

The National Standards seal, pictured above, is only achieved by those foundations that comply with 26 distinct standards of excellence. Community foundations must undergo an extensive review of their organizational and financial policies and procedures. The review is performed by trained, experienced community foundation practitioners.

The Washington County Community Foundation has received reaccreditation with the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations® for achieving the highest standard in philanthropic excellence. It was one of the first community foundations in the country to be accredited when the National Standards were adopted in 2000.

To receive accreditation with National Standards, community foundations must meet high and comprehensive standards for accountability, integrity, responsiveness, and engagement.

“Accreditation is the hallmark of achievement by community foundations,” said Betsie Trew, President & CEO. “The rigor of this accreditation process reconfirms our commitment to providing the highest level of service and accountability to our donors and the Washington County community. Achieving this designation is noteworthy in any year, but particularly meaningful in 2020 as we celebrate our 25th Anniversary.”

Intended both as a blueprint for internal organizational development and as a tangible set of benchmarks for external assessment performance, the 26 National Standards address five key areas of community foundation operations:

  • Mission, Structure, and Governance, including standards that reflect the independence and integrity of the organization's board and staff in managing the foundation's operations and assets.
  • 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, including standards related to due diligence and community responsiveness.
  • Grant-making, including standards related to broad and open grant-making programs, due diligence, and responsiveness to changing community needs.
  • Donor Relations, encompassing guidelines for informing, educating, and involving donors in responding to community needs.

Initially designed by community foundation leaders, the program is directed by the Community Foundation National Standards Board with support from the Council on Foundations. The Council, a national membership organization of both public and private foundations, adopted the National Standards to aid community foundations in establishing legal, ethical, and effective operational practices that would illustrate the foundations’ transparency and financial responsibility in light of the increased public scrutiny of foundation practices. In addition, the 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 IRS.

About the Washington County Community Foundation

This year marks the Washington County Community Foundation’s 25th anniversary. It is one of approximately 700 community foundations across the country which specialize in community-based philanthropy. The WCCF, the largest publicly supported grant-making foundation headquartered in Washington County, has awarded close to $17 million in grants since its inception. In addition to administering a broad grant-making program, the Foundation hosts an annual community-wide day of giving, WCCF Gives, which set a record for providing more than $1,000,000 in grants to local charities in 2019. The Foundation maintains offices in the historic Samuel T. Brownlee House in Eighty Four, Pennsylvania.