Why a Community Foundation?
The Geelong region has needs which are not being met from other funding sources. The Geelong Community Foundation encourages individuals and corporate donors to make donations to the Foundation so that the capital they donate is retained in the Geelong region and the income is used to meet the need of the local community.
In Australia there are now more than 26 community foundations across the country that are working to support their community and local regions, while there are over a thousand community foundations in the UK, USA and Canada.
Is the Foundation just another charitable organisation?
The Foundation is different from most other charitable organisations. The initial donation/gift you make becomes the capital. It is invested to grow, but in certain circumstances a portion of the capital may be coupled with the income to develop a specific project.
The aim is to distribute only the Foundation income annually. Funds are invested with an emphasis on security and under the guidance of professional advisers. There is no entry fee or establishment cost.
What options do donors have?
Donors are encouraged to make their gifts in a number of ways depending on their aims.
• Unrestricted or Discretionary Gifts – An unrestricted gift is able to be used by the Foundation to make a wide range of charitable purpose grants to meet community needs.
• Named Funds – The gift in these cases can carry the name of the donor of the donor’s family. The name may honour someone or preserve the memory of a family member, friend or outstanding citizen.
• Donor Preference – Donors, including those with a named gift may indicate their preference for a particular charity or class of charities.
• Bequests – People can make a gift as a bequest in their will. The bequest can be recognised by name if the donor wishes or it can be an anonymous gift.
• Scholarships – Establish a scholarship in someone’s memory.
What Community does the Foundation support?
The community supported comprises the people of the City of Greater Geelong, Borough of Queenscliffe, the Surf Coast Shire, and the Golden Plains Shire.
Who controls the Foundation?
Board members are people with demonstrated interest in the region, community service record and experience in business or welfare organisations. No directors’ fees are paid.Directors provide their time and expertise free of charge. The directors are assisted by an executive officer (part-time) and with honorary services from professional firms.
What costs does the Foundation incur?
A moderate charge needs to be made against the funds being administered to supplement donations and grants. The charge will not exceed one per cent per annum of the capital sum being administered.
How does the Foundation decide how to distribute its income?
1. Advice is sought from appropriate organisations and local government agencies about the greatest areas of need.
2. Donors are invited to form advisory committees to suggest how they would like the income used from their benefactions. Some funds may be formed to support specified causes (“designated funds”).
3. Submissions are invited and an allocations committee recommends to the Board how each year’s income is to be used.
What is the legal structure?
Geelong Community Foundation Limited is a company limited by guarantee, incorporated under Corporations Law. It has ten members – the directors. The company is the trustee of the Geelong Community Foundation, a trust settled by the initial eight directors and Mr Peter Morgan (Chairman of United Way at the time the foundation was established), each of whom donated money as a “settled sum”.
How does the community know how the Foundation is progressing?
An annual report is issued, including financial statements audited by an independent registered company auditor.
Copies are issued to the four municipal councils and the local press. The reports are also issued to donors and any interested members of the community.
Does the Foundation communicate with other community foundations?
The Foundation is represented on the Board of Community Foundations of Australasia, and benefits by liaising with the other community foundations in Australia and New Zealand.
Administrators of successful community foundations in the USA, UK and Canada also visit Australia and pass on their knowledge and experience.
The Community Foundation movement is very strong in these countries and is growing rapidly in a number of other countries. The Foundation works closely with the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal, and also with Philanthropy Australia.
What other roles does the Foundation play?
It can act as a trustee of funds to support local charitable organisations or projects.
Will the Foundation be competing with other fund raising appeals?
The Foundation invites the public to contribute to the Foundation Gift Fund each year but will not be launching a major, large scale, fund raising appeal.The Foundation aims to support worthy causes in our region and not compete with organisations such as Give Where You Live (formerly United Way) and their annual campaign. The Geelong Community Foundation is suitable for donors who wish to support their own community by assisting local charitable organisations and projects. Donors may indicate their preference for a particular interest in a charitable area.