Knox County Foundation Achieves National Accreditation

Knox County Foundation’s Program Manager Lisa Lloyd announced this week that the organization has achieved national accreditation from the national Council on Foundations, receiving the National Standards Seal.

In 2014, the Foundation’s board of directors set a goal to become accredited in its 10-year visioning statement. The National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations accreditation process is thorough and rigorous, requiring compliance with the law and an extensive list of internal operating policies and procedures that have been scrutinized and deemed best practice by the sector. The program is directed by the Community Foundation National Standards Board (CFNSB) with support from the Council on Foundations. The Accreditation Seal is only achieved by those foundations that comply with 26 distinct standards of excellence.

“I am so pleased to be serving as the board chair for Knox County Foundation during such an exciting time in our foundation’s history. In order to achieve our strategic goals, the board approved expansion of the Foundation’s staff to our current 3 and 1/2 employees with the addition of Marc Odenweller and Lisa Lloyd. This allowed KCF to continue performing the roles expected by our donors and investors, but also allowed Ms. Lloyd to work diligently on meeting all of the expectations of the standards,” explained Dr. Amy Murnen, board chair. “By achieving accreditation from The National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations, we are assuring or donors that we are committed to serving their philanthropic requests responsibly. Our board is so proud of the accomplishments of the Foundation!”

Lloyd began the process of gathering historical documents and creating new, as well as revising, policies and procedures to be in compliance with National Standards at the end of 2017. After board review and approval of countless documents, the application was formally submitted in March of 2018. The review process took more than nine months before learning the Knox County Foundation received the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations seal of accreditation.

According to the Council on Foundations’ website, “In today’s environment, philanthropic organizations face scrutiny unlike ever before, from increased regulations at the state and federal level to media scrutiny from local and national outlets. The National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations Accreditation Program represents a community foundation’s commitment to going above and beyond federal and state requirements to demonstrate excellence and accountability. Accreditation provides an additional layer of rigorous, sector-driven and enforced accountability.”

To receive and maintain accreditation status, community foundations must meet and remain compliant with comprehensive standards around the following key areas of excellence: structure and governance, resource development, accountability, grantmaking, and community engagement. Charitable contributions made to support and strengthen communities are limited and precious. The National Standards seal indicates that these accredited institutions will serve as responsible stewards of these contributions as dedicated community partners and leaders.

“The National Standards Seal is more than meeting a set of guidelines; it demonstrates our investment in our donors, community partners, and grantees. National Standards Accreditation provides the community a peace of mind knowing that the Foundation is prudently managing donor contributions, connecting donors to causes they care about, ensuring beneficiaries are utilizing grants for intended purposes, responding to community needs and providing leadership on important community issues,” said Lloyd. “We are incredibly proud of meeting such high standards of excellence to serve the Knox County community.”

The Knox County Foundation, celebrating 75 years of operation, is a collection of individual philanthropic funds established by Knox County residents for a wide variety of charitable purposes. Today, the Foundation holds assets in excess of $73 million, has 436 component funds and has used endowment income to award more than $3.2 million in grants county wide, including more than $1 million in scholarships to Knox County nonprofit organizations and college students.

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