The Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa has been recently reconfirmed in its accreditation 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. CFNEIA has been a nationally accredited community foundation for 13 years, originally achieving the status in 2005, the first year of the accreditation program.
The National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations® program is a rigorous review of all legal fund agreements as well as the Foundation’s policies and procedures for donor services, investments, grantmaking, and administration. The program is designed to provide quality assurance to donors, as well as to their legal and financial advisors.
“This accreditation is a significant accomplishment that indicates the Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa demonstrates a commitment to transparency, quality, integrity, and accountability as we carry out our mission,” said Kaye Englin, CFNEIA President and CEO. “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 and honor their charitable wishes. The National Standards accreditation says we are following through on our commitment to excellence in philanthropy.”
Accreditation also allows the Foundation to offer its donors the 25% Endow Iowa state tax credit, a credit issued by the Iowa Economic Development Authority as a way to incentivize Iowa residents to keep the state growing through endowment funds supporting Iowa causes.
CFNEIA offers a range of charitable funds, allowing donors to advance a cause, support an individual organization, provide flexible support for community needs, or recommend individual grants. A greater emphasis to policies for donor advised funds (DAFs) has been included in the national accreditation process. Through the renewal process, the Community Foundation established a board approved policy with steps to increase engagement with DAF fund advisors to help them make impacts matching their charitable goals. The new policy ensures DAFs remain active charitable tools through grantmaking to nonprofits improving the quality of life in communities across CFNEIA’s 20-county region. Of CFNEIA’s $110 million in assets, 20 percent are held in DAFs.
The accreditation also validates CFNEIA’s grantmaking practices, which involves vetting nonprofits and government entities applying through the discretionary grant process and grantmaking from donor-established funds. CFNEIA’s grantmaking works to meet critical community needs and support local causes in seven core areas including; art and culture, community betterment, education, environment, historic preservation, health, and human service. The Community Foundation of Northeast Iowa has granted over $85 million since 1956.
“Grant making is the core of how we partner with generous people to impact the communities we serve,” said Jeff Hassman, Chair, CFNEIA Board of Directors. “As we grow our capacity to help our nonprofit partners, National Standard accreditation allows us to confidently say we are here for good for organizations and the people they serve.”
National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations® is the first program of its kind for charitable foundations in the United States.