National Standards

Standards of Excellence

Accreditation As a community foundation, we adhere to the rigorous standards set forth by the Council on Foundations, which takes a leadership role in shaping community foundations’ self-regulation. The National Standards for US Community Foundations Accreditation Program certifies US community foundations that meet and exceed federal and state law requirements in practice and by policy. The accreditation process is rigorous, and its undertaking demonstrates a community foundation’s commitment to accountability and excellence to its donors, its community, policymakers, and the public.

The Community Foundations National Standards Board confirms operational excellence in six key areas — mission, structure, and governance; resource development; stewardship and accountability; grant-making and community leadership; donor relations; and communications. Foundations that comply with these standards can display the official National Standards Seal. Today nearly 500 community foundations have earned the seal—one of which is Bainbridge Community Foundation.

What are the National Standards?

The National Standards for US Community Foundations (National Standards) is an accreditation program created by community foundations for community foundations. These standards are peer-driven, voluntary, and self-regulatory.

National Standards accreditation represents operational effectiveness to foster excellence in community philanthropy, which is accomplished in two ways. First, the Council on Foundations creates standards for operationally and legally sound community foundations. Second, the organization leads community foundation staff and boards through the process of achieving operational excellence. With confidence in their operations, community foundations can innovate and take risks necessary to solve complex problems.

Community foundations submit documentation to confirm they meet the National Standards for US Community Foundations. This documentation is peer-reviewed. Community foundations reconfirm their accreditation annually. For more information about the program, visit