What is a community foundation?
A community foundation is a tax-exempt, nonprofit, autonomous, publicly supported, nonsectarian philanthropic institution with a long-term goal of building permanent, named component funds established by many separate donors to carry out their charitable interests and for the benefit of residents of a defined geographic area. (Source: Council on Foundations). The Hawaii Community Foundation is among a handful of community foundations throughout the nation that serves the entire state. This statewide perspective is an advantage to donors wanting to understand the broad spectrum of community need on every island and the landscape of nonprofit organizations that serve Hawaii’s people.
What does the Hawaii Community Foundation do?
As one of the oldest community foundations in the country, established in 1916, HCF manages a repository of more than 650 charitable funds that have been set up by generous individuals, families, and businesses across the state to benefit the people of Hawaii. These funds reflect the charitable grantmaking interests of their donors, and can vary from unrestricted grants to those for very specific areas such as scholarships or a geographical region. HCF distributes these charitable funds to Hawaii’s nonprofit organizations through a variety of grant programs.
HCF also supports the advancement of knowledge, understanding, and effectiveness in the nonprofit sector by providing training opportunities and disseminating information through workshops, events, learning communities, studies, publications, and online resources.
In addition, HCF assists clients in defining their philanthropic interests and provides strategic thinking around the most effective ways their grants can realize the greatest impact. Several private foundations and government or community organizations contract with HCF to provide administrative, financial, and grantmaking services for their family foundations or trusts.
Why give a gift to Hawaii Community Foundation rather than give directly to my favorite charity?
There are many great ways to support the thousands of nonprofits in Hawaii. By establishing a fund at the Hawaii Community Foundation, you can create a permanent gift that will produce income and enable you to give grants in perpetuity. This way you can be assured that your favorite charity will continue to get your annual support. You can set up a fund within your lifetime or create a lasting legacy by creating a bequest to HCF in your will.
How is Hawaii Community Foundation different from other public charities?
Most public charities provide direct and specific services to the community (e.g., emergency food and shelter, early childhood development). HCF, while also a public charity, is primarily a grantmaker and not a direct service provider. Rather than focus on servicing a particular community need, HCF serves donors and the broad needs of the community.
How is Hawaii Community Foundation funded?
The Foundation’s primary sources of operating revenue come from:
- A one-time and/or administrative fees on donor gifts
- Contractual fees earned from providing philanthropic services to other grantmakers or organizations
How are members of the Board of Governors chosen?
HCF's volunteer Board of Governors is comprised of leaders in business or civic affairs, who provide external oversight of the Foundation’s operations, and contribute their considerable expertise and time. Members are elected by the Board of Governors to serve three-year terms. The board selects new members on the basis of their knowledge of the educational, cultural, civic, public, and charitable needs of the state and on the basis of their activity in or representation of public institutions or organizations. Board members meet at least four times a year as a body and also participate in committees throughout the year. Please view the list of the current Board of Governors.
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