By Mandi Olson, Finance Director at the Winona Community Foundation
Whether or not you like to crunch numbers and review financial statements, accounting and finance are a necessary part of all businesses. As a public charity, we at the Foundation take our fiduciary responsibility very seriously. Our four-person board appointed finance committee reviews financial statements in detail monthly and reports back to the full board at its monthly meeting.
The finance committee also meets quarterly with our three local investment firms to oversee their performance in managing our money. We measure their performance against established benchmarks and ensure they are complying with our investment policy statement. Finally, we hire an independent auditor to conduct an annual audit of our financial statements.
On top of all this oversight, we are accredited by the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundation and have obtained the highest seal of transparency (Platinum) from Candid (formally known as GuideStar). This means anyone wishing to view our IRS form 990 or financial statements simply needs to ask. In fact, we proudly have a link to our most recent 990 on our homepage.
More than Money
While fiscal management is critical, we never forget that money is only a tool for our mission which calls us to build a vibrant and enduring home. We support this mission in several ways and our fund holders are integral in accomplishing this. In addition to managing 118 funds, we distribute more than $100,000 to local nonprofits each year through our Community Grant program. And like a small business, we provide meaningful employment to three staff who reside in the area and have a strong pulse on the local nonprofit landscape.
Through the 118 funds held here, we support youth programs (BK5K Youth Fund) and families in need with school supplies, winter clothing, and happy holidays (Ready Set School, Goodfellows, Winona Area Toys for Kids). We take on projects when needs and opportunities arise, including supporting a project to treat ash trees and plant new trees (Friends of Winona Parks Save our Trees), building an all-inclusive park (Every Child’s Dream) and pavilion; projects and programs that benefit the Goodview area (Goodview Community Foundation), and scholarships to support area students in their post-high school endeavors (Winona Daily News Above & Beyond Scholarship Fund, Brianna Grace Vitek Scholarship, Jack Rader Scholarship, etc.). We have helped new nonprofits get off the ground including Mid West Music Fest and the Frozen River Film Festival, and we are currently working to support the launch of the Sandbar Storytelling Festival this year (occurring in October). There is no shortage of good work happening here! Community is in our name and we live that out every day.
If you are happy with our financial oversight and overall impact, we encourage you to let us and others know. Word of mouth is the best tool we have to expand our reach. You can leave the number crunching to us, so you can easily connect and engage with the causes you love!
Through philanthropic services, strategic investments and community leadership, Winona Community Foundation helps people support the causes they care about, now and for generations to come.