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Posts Tagged ‘Council on Foundations’

Embossed on the cover in small type is Council on Foundations, and below that in larger type is Guide To Philanthropic Resources.  Inside are all the community foundation connections you are likely to need except Clarion County Community Foundation but that one you know by heart. 

Once you print out a copy from the Council you need to select a spot to keep it that is easy to reach and will not be covered up by other stuff, then note the spot on the inside cover so that you remind yourself to put it back in its rightful spot.  There are resources and organizations listed to help you not reinvent the gears of community foundations, thus giving you time to work on a new color scheme.  Charles Marlin

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When Frederick Harris Goff, president of the Cleveland Trust and Cleveland civic leader, created the Cleveland Foundation he did more than create the first community foundation in the United States.  He began a philanthropic movement that has changed how America and the world handles charity.  WINGS, the Worldwide Initiatives For Grantmaker Support, has published its 2008 Community Foundation Global Status Report, my source for this bit of history and current data on community foundations in North America.

The United States leads all nations with 775 community foundations although that number does not account for the incredible expansion of affiliate community foundations such as Clarion County Community Foundation.  It is absurd that only administrative foundations are counted with no recognition of the affiliates.  Canada is second in number in North America but drops to third worldwide behind Germany.  Canada reports 163, Germany 190, and Mexico has 17.  BPP, the US-Mexico Philanthropy Partnership, is a partnership of community foundations on both sides of the border, 6 in Mexico and 13 in the US.  The purpose of BPP is to improve life for low-income border families and communities by building up the foundations and local commitment.

The chronology is easy to follow once the Cleveland Foundation was established in 1914.  In 1921 the Winnipeg Foundation became the first community foundation in Canada.  In 1949 the early organizational efforts began that eventually resulted in the Council on Foundations in the US.  In 1969 community foundations in the US received preferred tax status of public charities under the Tax Reform Act of 1969.  In 1985 with the help of the Ford Foundation and other funders, the Puerto Rico Community Foundation became the first in the Caribbean.  In 1992 the Canadian community foundations established the Community Foundations of Canada.  Mexico’s entry into community foundations is a little harder to follow because a great deal of variance in organization was present initially, plus they continue to struggle with accounting standards for the nonprofit sector to allow for transparency of operations.  Work is progressing so the problem will be solved at some point.

There are community foundations in 51 countries and active development in others.  The World Bank Community Foundation Initiative, the WINGS Global Fund for Community Foundations, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Soros initiatives have played a very big role in the expansion worldwide and will continue to do so for a long time.  The moral principles upon which the community foundation movement is based are universal in appeal so there is no stopping what Freddie began.  I barely knew him, but I think he would say, “Right on, Brother.”  Charles Marlin

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Three on a trotline is not bad but three good articles on community foundations is better, even if you still need to find something for supper.  If you have not set up a file for community foundation articles worth keeping, you could start now with these free ones off the web.

Keeping the trotline in hand I call this first one a granddaddy bullhead catfish.  It is the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations available at the Council on Foundations web site http://www.cof.org  Whatever role you have with the community foundation this is the constitution that will keep you true.  In the manner of the old-school supreme court justices who carried a copy of the Federal Constitution in their pocket during all daylight hours, you should have a dog-eared copy with you at every board meeting or visit to the foundation offices.  It is three pages of distilled wisdom, the law and also the right thing to do.

The next fish on the line is Executive Summary On the Brink of New Promise: The Future of U.S. Community Foundations from Community Philanthropy at http://www.communityphilanthropy.org  The last fish on the line this trip is Growing Smarter: Achieving Sustainability in Emerging Community Foundations from the James Irvine Foundation at http://www.irvine.org  The articles are 10 and 34 pages long so no pithy summary from me.  The idea is for you to print out the articles, take them in hand, and read.  I wish there were more articles so easily available like these.  If you can add titles to the library, please speak up.  Charles Marlin

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