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National Standards

The Ventura County Community Foundation meets National Standards for operational quality, donor service and accountability in the community foundation sector.

The National Standards Seal by our name indicates official confirmation from the Council on Foundations that we have met the most rigorous standards in philanthropy. It affirms our commitment to financial security, transparency and accountability. It says our grantmaking includes an open, competitive process designed to address the changing needs of our community. The National Standards Seal also confirms our history of honoring donors’ wishes—to support the arts, cultivate gardens, save endangered species, cure illness, expand literacy, feed children—and support countless other important causes. 

The National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations Program was established in 2000 in cooperation with the Council on Foundations. National Standards guide community foundations in establishing legal, ethical and effective operational practices that serve as blueprints for internal development and benchmarks for external assessment. The 43 National Standards require the Ventura County Community Foundation to document its policies in donor services, investment management, grantmaking and administration. To receive confirmation of National Standards compliance, VCCF submitted its organizational and financial policies and procedures to a rigorous peer review.

The 43 National Standards address six key areas of community foundation operations:

1. Mission, Structure and Governance, including standards defining board accountability, compensation, independence, fiduciary responsibility and representation of the community.

2. Resource Development, including parameters for administration of funds, disclosures to donors and commitment to building long-term resources for varied community issues and causes.

3. 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.

4. Grantmaking and Community Leadership, including standards related to broad and open grantmaking programs, due diligence and responsiveness to changing community needs.

5. Donor Relations, encompassing guidelines for informing, educating and involving donors in responding to community needs.

6. Communications, including openness to public scrutiny and frequent communication about activities and finances.

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