What Is a Community Foundation?
Ohio is the birthplace of one of today's fastest growing forms of philanthropy – the community foundation. In 1914 a Cleveland attorney envisioned a single entity that could steward the charitable wishes of many different citizens for a community's perpetual benefit. His vision was compelling and took hold.
The Springfield Foundation is among more than 700 community foundations in the United States. Community foundations are tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) public charities that serve local donors who wish to take an organized approach to giving. Because community foundations are public charities, their donors enjoy increased tax advantages not available to private foundation donors. Community foundation donors also receive professional support without hiring staff. Unlike private foundations, community foundations invest and administer a pool of funds contributed by numerous donors. Together, these donors create an endowment – in essence a community savings account – designed to ensure the long-term health of the nonprofit community.
Ohio is home to more than 70 community foundations, including several recognized nationwide as innovators in the field. Individually and collectively they provide Ohio with a wealth of energy, ideas, leadership, and social and philanthropic capital. These resources help find new and effective solutions to the challenges facing our communities. Community foundations, in essence, represent trust in the community and a commitment to our future.
Like all community foundations, the Springfield Foundation:
» has an independent governing body broadly representative of its community.
» informs and educates individuals, families and businesses about community issues and grant making opportunities.
» actively involves individuals, families and businesses in identifying and responding to community issues and opportunities.
» keeps all information obtained with respect to donors, funds and prospects for new fund creation confidential to the fullest extent possible.
» honors the charitable intentions of its donors consistent with community needs and applicable laws and regulations.
» is a steward of charitable funds, investing and prudently managing funds and maintaining accurate financial records, and is accountable to its community and regularly disseminates information on its programs and finances.
» ensures that its financial resources are used solely in furtherance of its mission.
Donors who give through the community foundation enjoy the satisfaction of knowing that their gifts will be safely and efficiently administered for the charitable purposes they specify, plus they receive the maximum tax deduction for their contributions.
The Springfield Foundation's adherence to these national standards is your assurance that as your local community foundation, we are, and will remain, accountable to donors and the community.
For more information about community foundations, visit the Council on Foundations.