Community Foundation receives recognition


The Greater PineBelt Community Foundation recently received accreditation with the nation’s highest standard for philanthropic excellence. National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations establishes legal, ethical, effective practices for community foundations everywhere.

“Meeting the National Standards benchmarks is a rigorous, comprehensive process,” said Chair of the Community Foundations National Standards Board Randy Royster. “This accreditation is a significant accomplishment that indicates The Greater PineBelt Community Foundation demonstrates a commitment to transparency, quality, integrity and accountability as it carries out its mission.”

“National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations were created to demonstrate effectiveness and accountability to policy makers, regulators and the public,” said House Representative Toby Barker. “Community Foundations are tax- exempt, grantmaking organizations that serve the charitable purpose of enhancing the quality of life of people in the communities they serve. Our local Community Foundation serves the Pine Belt region in many ways including managing 200 charitable funds that give grants out, as designated by the donor. Since inception, the PineBelt Community Foundation has disbursed over $9 million in grants. We are very lucky to have such a well-run non-profit organization in the Pine Belt area.”

“The process of earning National Standards accreditation was arduous,” said Chairman of the Foundation’s Governance Committee Steve Ramp. “The program required that not only we document our policies for donor services, investments, grantmaking and administration, but also they reviewed every aspect of our organization, including: structure and governance; resource development; accountability; grantmaking and community engagement. To receive and maintain accreditation status, every aspect of the Foundation was reviewed by a community foundation expert from a panel appointed by the Community Foundations National Standards Board, a supporting organization of the Council on Foundations in Arlington, Va.”

“The National Standards accreditation process is not mandatory,” said President of the Board of Directors David Fortenberry. “We chose to go above and beyond to affirm our commitment to excellence and accountability. Theresa Erickson, our executive director, has been passionate about becoming an accredited community foundation since the day she started working for the foundation. And I have witnessed the Governance Committee and Erickson work extremely hard to demonstrate the Foundation’s transparency, accountability and excellence to communities, policymakers and the public.”

With more than 500 community foundations already accredited nationwide, the program is designed to provide quality assurance to donors, as well as to their legal and financial advisors.

“Charitable contributions made to support and strengthen communities are incredible gifts,” stated Vice President of the Foundation Terri Bell. “The National Standards seal indicates that we are following best practices and we will serve as responsible stewards of these contributions as dedicated community partners and leaders.”

“The National Standards Seal articulates to our donors, professional planners and lawyers in the Pine Belt Region that we are not only following legal guidelines, but we also have made a commitment to operational excellence, sound policies and accountability which puts us in a better position to promote philanthropy,” said PineBelt Community Foundation Executive Director Theresa Erickson. “When people make a charitable bequest or establish a fund, they are putting their trust in us. They are counting on us to manage the investment wisely, honor their charitable wishes and, in some cases, provide a forever gift to their favorite nonprofit, church or school. The National Standards accreditation says our house is in order.”

The Greater PineBelt Community Foundation’s mission is to strengthen communities through philanthropy. The Foundation manages more than 200 Funds that support causes donors are passionate about including health, education (including many scholarship funds), arts and culture, community and civic enrichment, basic human needs, religion, youth development and animal welfare.

The PineBelt Community Foundation offers a range of charitable funds, allowing donors to advance a cause, support a nonprofit organization, church or school, provide flexible support for community needs or recommend individual grants. In addition to affirming the organization’s philanthropic services, the accreditation validates the PineBelt Community Foundation’s grantmaking practices for the nonprofit community.

“Grantmaking is a lot like investing,” said Fortenberry. “We need to assess risks, weigh potential gains, diversify assets, monitor performance and operate fairly. With our National Standards accreditation, you can be assured that we’re doing just that.”

The Community Foundations National Standards Board is a supporting organization of the Council on Foundations and is responsible for the quality, value and integrity of compliance with National Standards. For more information on the National Standards Board, visit its website at www.

For more information about The Greater PineBelt Community Foundation, visit or call 601.583.6180. To learn more about the accreditation process, go to