During the week of November 12-18, 2014, The Foundation for Enhancing Communities (TFEC) will join more than 700 community foundations across America celebrating Community Foundation Week. Community Foundation Week, created in 1989 by former president George H.W. Bush, recognizes the work of community foundations throughout America and their collaborative approach to working with the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to address community problems. For 25 years, the effort has raised awareness about the increasingly important role of these philanthropic organizations in fostering local collaboration and innovation to address persistent civic and economic challenges.
“Community foundations impact lives, solve problems, and improve futures,” said Janice R. Black, President and CEO. “As many residents grapple with limited resources and a growing need for services, we are more determined than ever to bring our community partners together to find innovative and effective solutions for some of our most challenging social problems.”
Community foundations are independent, public entities that steward philanthropic resources from institutional and individual donors to local nonprofits that are the heart of strong, vibrant communities. Three ways that TFEC is currently helping to improve the community are the Emerging Philanthropist Program, Parents & Partners, and a convening focused on issues concerning health disparities among older adults.
- Emerging Philanthropist Program: TFEC and Harrisburg Young Professionals have partnered together to provide an opportunity for emerging leaders in the Harrisburg community to become actively engaged through the power of philanthropy. The Emerging Philanthropists Program seeks to engage Harrisburg’s emerging business and community leaders with the great possibilities that lie within philanthropic endeavors in Harrisburg. The program will help emerging philanthropists answer questions such as: What does it mean to be philanthropic?; How do I understand the needs of our community?; and What can I do to make an impact? The Emerging Philanthropists Program will provide resources and educational opportunities for Harrisburg’s developing leaders who wish to be actively engaged in giving back to their community.
- Parents & Partners: Recently, the PA Department of Public Welfare announced the Pennsylvania Community Innovation Zone grantees. TFEC’s early childhood community collaborative initiative, Parents & Partners, was one of twelve statewide grantees to receive $75,000 for up to three years. In addition to the Community Innovation Zone grant, TFEC was able to secure $88,000 in matching funds from the PNC Foundation, The Hershey Company, Harrisburg Public Schools Foundation, United Way of the Capital Region, Greater Harrisburg Foundation a regional foundation of TFEC, and many private donors. The goal of Parents & Partners is to wrap support around the whole family while also strengthening the teaching professionals who work with those families.
- Convening focused on issues concerning health disparities among older adults: Community stakeholders began meeting in 2012 to discuss health disparities among the aging population. Participants from the local Area Agencies on Aging, hospital systems, local funders, health insurers, service providers, and state departments met throughout 2012 and into 2013 and narrowed down topics of relevance identified in previous sessions. As a group, it was decided to focus their efforts to address the lack of health literacy in the South Central PA area. Currently, the group is working on creating a website with information and tools to make available to community-based organizations (churches, adults centers, etc.) to help with their efforts to increase health literacy amongst its older constituents.
TFEC by the Number
Community foundations represent one of the fastest-growing forms of philanthropy. Every state in the United States is home to at least one community foundation—large and small, urban and rural—working to advance solutions on a wide range of social issues. In 2013, TFEC awarded over $4 million in grants to nonprofit organizations. The largest three categories were education at 27%, community development at 21%, and arts and humanities at 14%. Donor Advised Funds comprised 73% of the total grants awarded. Scholarships totaling over $750,000 were awarded to 470 students for the 2012-2013 academic year. A total of over $281,000 was provided in grants to local nonprofit organizations in Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lebanon, and Perry counties and the Dillsburg Area by TFEC’s six regional foundations.
National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations
TFEC is accredited with National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations™—the highest standards for philanthropic excellence.
TFEC works to support the causes its community cares about, from supporting the arts and cultivating gardens to curing illness, expanding literacy, and feeding children. National Standards states that TFEC meet the most rigorous standards in philanthropy and is a promise to the community that TFEC will continue to do this good work together, right here in the South Central PA counties of Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lebanon, and Perry, and the Dillsburg Area.
National Standards is not mandatory. TFEC chose to go above and beyond by affirming its commitment to excellence and accountability. The accreditation provides assurance that TFEC has sound policies and practices in place. In short, it means TFEC meets the highest standards for giving.
To receive accreditation with National Standards, TFEC submitted its policies and procedures to a rigorous review of 41 National Standards in six key areas of community foundation operations, including donor services, investment management, grantmaking and administration.