Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Community Foundation?

A community foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to the long-term betterment of a specific geographic area.

Community Foundations build permanent funds to benefit the charitable needs of a community. Individuals, businesses, families and other organizations establish permanent endowment funds that help the community.

The community foundation invests and administers these funds.

What is the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation?

First and foremost, the NCCF is dedicated to the Northern Chautauqua County, New York, region. Since 1986, it has served its communities as a 501c3 not-for-profit organization.

It now holds over $27 million in permanent funds, which allow it to distribute over $1 million annually in grants and scholarships for the betterment of the community.

Donors are community minded individuals, families, businesses and not-for-profit organizations.

The NCCF provides grants and supports organizations in human services, the arts, youth, seniors, the environment, scholarship, economic development and many others.

It is structured to support the most pressing needs in the community today and, as these needs change, so does its funding focus.

Of perhaps equal importance to our role as grantmaker, the NCCF identifies current and emerging community issues, stimulate resources to address those needs and help the community prepare for the future.

Does NCCF follow national standards for community foundations?

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Yes. The NCCF follows the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations as defined by the Council on Foundations. Approved and adopted by the Community Foundation Leadership Team in late 2000, the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations are philanthropy's most rigorous in key areas: governance, development, accountability, leadership and communications.

Who are the people behind the Community Foundation?

The Community Foundation is governed by an exceptional, all volunteer Board of Directors. In addition, over 75 community members contribute their time and expertise to various working committees. A staff of five performs the day-to-day tasks and provides support to the Board and Committees.  Board members and volunteers

How do you decide who receives grants from Community Benefit Funds?

The Board of Directors is responsible for awarding grants from the Community Benefit Funds.  Our volunteer Grants Committee reviews funding proposals and researches each project’s potential for success and benefit to our community. Site visits and interviews are generally conducted to ensure that NCCF’s grantmaking standards are being met. After thoughtful deliberation, the Committee’s recommendations are submitted for approval to the Board of Directors. The collaborative efforts of Grants Committee and Board of Directors results in grantmaking which identifies and addresses community goals and needs.

What charitable funds make up the Community Foundation?

The NCCF holds a total of 402 separate charitable funds. Each fund has its own grantmaking focus, as determined by the interests and passions of its founders. To distinguish their purpose and intent, our charitable funds are classified as: Community Benefit, Designated, Agency Endowment, Donor Advised, Community Donor Advised, Scholarship or Pass-Through.

How does the Community Foundation make its investments?

Professional money managers are engaged by the board to manage the assets based on the board approved Statement of Investment and Spending Policy. The endowment funds are invested to fulfill the NCCF’s central purpose: to be consistently responsive to the current and changing charitable needs of northern Chautauqua County, both now and in the future.

What is the Community Foundation’s investment objective?

The overall investment objective is to meet the payout requirements, cover annual expenses and keep the portfolio at least even with inflation so as to perpetuate the endowed funds.

What is the Community Foundation’s investment strategy?

The pooled investments are broadly diversified across asset classes and investment styles in order to enhance investment results in all market environments. An important part of the Community Foundation’s portfolio is its asset allocation, which includes domestic (50 percent) and international stocks (10 percent), and bonds (40 percent).

What is the Investment Committee’s Role?

The Investment Committee meets at least quarterly to monitor investment performance. They assure that all activity is in strict agreement with the established Statement of Investment and Spending Policy. In addition, the committee oversees the performance of our managers, establishes performance objectives, identifies an appropriate asset mix and recommends a spending rate. In all of their duties, the committee is guided by a commitment to prudent stewardship. The committee’s function in relationship to the board is advisory; the board is the decision-making body.