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Community Foundation achieves a high standard

November 17, 2007|By BRAD SELL

I am pleased to announce that the Community Foundation of Washington County MD Inc. recently received notification that it has met the nation's highest philanthropic standards for operational quality, integrity and accountability. The notice comes from the Council on Foundations, a national professional association based in Washington, D.C.

This is similar to the Good Housekeeping Seal for community foundations; it says that The 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 more than 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 because, when people make a charitable bequest, establish a fund or set up a charitable gift annuity, they are putting their faith 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.

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The Community Foundation offers a range of charitable funds, allowing donors to advance a cause such as the arts or the prevention of child abuse, 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 the foundation's grantmaking practices for the nonprofit community.

Some say it's easier to create wealth than to give money away wisely and 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 for the greatest impact. When you see the National Standards Seal, you may 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, The Community Foundation of Washington County MD Inc. helps people support the causes they care about, now and for generations to come.

Commemorating its 10th anniversary this year, The Community Foundation has been a force for improving lives and promoting philanthropy in Washington County since 1997.

The foundation has made grants totaling more than $3.5 million in support of causes ranging from education to health care, the arts to halfway houses.

Grants are generated by the more than 150 funds that comprise the foundation's endowment, established and advanced by area individuals, families and organizations.

More information about The Community Foundation is available by contacting me at 301-745-5210 or at www.cfwcmd.org.

Brad Sell is the
executive director of the
Community Foundation of
Washington County Inc.

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