The second day of the Community Foundations forum took place at the beautifully tranquil Maggie Beers’ Farm, and started off with a talk from the lady herself on “why giving?”. Along with a breakfast of baked tomatoes, great sausages and egg and bacon pie, Maggie spoke about her new mission – to change the culture of food in aged care facilities.
Alex Gartmann from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal followed with a lengthy discussion on the types of donation accounts FRRR can hold on behalf of community foundations and how the processes work. This is especially useful for community foundations who wish to receive funds from Private Ancillary Funds (who can not give directly to other DGR2 type entities). FRRR also provides a useful service in also allowing community foundations to give to FRRR to pass on funds to organisations which may not have DGR status at all.
A quick spotlight from Shelley Boyce of the Southern Highlands Community Foundation highlighted a turnaround in that community foundation’s fortunes. Shelley had felt that they had not been progressing too well, but after last year’s forum was inspired to invite Bill Holland from the Acorn Foundation to give them some coaching on developing a bequests program which has already resulted in three notified bequests. They have also embarked on a program to bring an arts and cultural centre to their area, and will receive 5% percentage of the budget as the management fee for this – which will go to developing their corpus. Congratulations!
A short advertorial from Conor Hayes from Warrikiri Asset Management preceeded the much awaited follow up session from Alice Macdougall on “the effect of the Charities Act on grantmaking and converting to an ITEF as well as fees, sport, governance and more”.
Alice reminded us that the ACNC has good governance standards on its website which include requirements for all directors and committee members to adhere to. The ACNC is taking an educative approach initially. It is important to ensure that in appointing new board members, they are not disqualified from acting in that capacity by both ASIC and the ACNC. The duties required by the ACNC are based on the Corporations Act, but of course, (Alice sighs here) slightly different. A key thing to remember is that the board needs to look at all financial documents – AND ASK QUESTIONS! They can not delegate all responsibility to committees or “experts” and staff.
Alice spoke about the “reasonable costs” that a charitable trust can reimburse for administration, fundraising, grantmaking, promotion, investment and governance, and provided some models for how an administration sub-fund can operate within a Public Ancillary Fund.
She also noted that all Income Tax Exempt Funds (ITEF) will be moving to the ACNC at 1 January 2014 under the new Charities Act and that it is therefore important for Public Ancillary Funds which wish to convert to ITEF to do that before the end of the year. Being an ITEF allows a community foundation to grant to organisations which are charitable but do not have DGR – but still give a tax deductible receipt to their donors. It is also useful in Victoria so that community foundations can give to organisations “which but for their relationship to government would be considered charitable”. This includes government run hospitals, municipal libraries and art galleries, and government school building and library funds. In essence, it increases the pool of potential grant recipients – which is very useful particularly in rural and regional areas, where there are not necessarily so many eligible DGR1 entities.
Alice noted that “auspicing” in philanthropy is not on and talked in detail about how to watch out for this. As she was running out of time she touched only briefly on giving towards community infrastructure, sport and sporting infrastructure, schools, enterprises and community organisations with charitable purpose.
A short word from Leigh Wallace from the Geelong Community Foundation on the importance of maintaining networks with financial advisers and accountants so that advice on bequests for community foundations is disseminated within the community.
Kristi Mansfield from the Sydney Community Foundation shared her experience at the Community Foundations Conference held in Canada in July. Of particular interest was a joint marketing campaign for all 200 or so community foundations in Canada, under the banner of “Smart and Caring Communities“. This is a five year campaign with the Governor General of Canada as the ambassador. It includes national advertising, national media partners and promotes a common language of philanthropy.
Kristi noted that the campaign targeted “untapped” community builders who had certain characteristics – they were from the general public, were community minded, problem solvers and involved connectors who were philanthropically interested, seeking personal impact. The campaign aimed to build on people’s sense of their Canadian-ness and an insight into what makes them unique. The challenge for Australian community foundations in seeking to emulate such a model would be to find what is a real insight into harnessing key positive characteristics of the Australian community.
It will be great to see how Australian Community Philanthropy can work with the interest shown in creating some kind of common marketing campaign or national messaging to help promote the community foundations in Australia – as this seemed to be something everyone agreed was desirable.
and after all this information it was only time for lunch . . . . .