March 22, 2024

What Does National Accreditation Mean, and Why Does it Matter?

When flipping through MCF publications, you may have noticed a white and blue seal that reads “Accredited Community Foundation. ” MCF has received national accreditation from the Council on Foundations for 22 years. But what is national accreditation and why does it matter?

National Standards Accreditation Seal

Peer-Regulated Standards

The Council on Foundations is a nonprofit membership association that serves as a guide for philanthropies as they advance the greater good. It works with its member organizations to promote best practices and share new perspectives.

In the late 1990s, the Council on Foundations recognized the need for a peer-regulated standards program to establish criteria to assess effectiveness and accountability across the industry. The National Standards provide vital guidance on how community foundations operate, distribute funds and determine impact on the communities they serve.

The process of earning National Standards accreditation is arduous. The program requires community foundations to document policies for donor services, investments, grantmaking and administration. Documentation is then reviewed by a panel of community foundation experts appointed by the Community Foundations National Standards Board, a supporting organization of the Council on Foundations in Washington, D.C.

Building Trust Through Transparency

Accreditation under the Community Foundations National Standards is not mandatory, but it signifies that MCF meets the highest standards for philanthropic excellence. As an organization that values integrity and acting with transparency, the seal of accreditation highlights that we have sound policies and practices in place to meet the highest standards of local giving.

“The accreditation process is very vigorous – and of course also helpful in ensuring we meet the best practices in the field. It creates transparency and strengthens trust, which are crucial for donors who wish to develop a charitable bequest, establish a fund, or set up an annuity.” said MCF’s President and CEO, Bob Sorge.

MCF recognizes the value of maintaining this accreditation as it shows organizations, policymakers, and the public that we are responsible stewards dedicated to the common good of the community. Although the process is thorough and rigorous, MCF will maintain its accreditation status and continue to uphold and be upheld by more than 500 accredited community foundations across all 50 states.

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