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5 ways the Kiwanis Children’s Fund can help club foundations

Ann Updegraff Spleth | Jan 13, 2020

Kiwanis Children's Fund

Operating a club foundation can be complicated. One of the most important functions of the Kiwanis Children’s Fund is to serve as a resource for other foundations in the Kiwanis family. There are more than 1,000 club, district and regional foundations that help Kiwanians improve the lives of children throughout the world. Just as the Kiwanis Children’s Fund carries out the charitable activities of Kiwanis International, these foundations raise money and make grants to their respective clubs and districts.

However, unlike the Children’s Fund, most of these foundations are run by Kiwanis volunteers, not professional foundation experts. That’s where the Children’s Fund offers a variety of resources, such as guidelines for existing foundations and tips on starting a new one. The downloadable documents at kiwanischildrensfund.org/foundation-resources can be adapted to fit your foundation’s circumstances and meet charity evaluator standards. Model documents are currently targeted to U.S. foundations.

Here are five tips to make sure your club or district foundation is operating effectively:

  1. Update your bylaws and policies using the Kiwanis International template. If your club has a foundation, it must follow the Bylaws and Articles of Incorporation for Kiwanis Club Foundations. The bylaws were most recently revised in April 2018, and all club and district foundations need to be compliant with the new language.
  2. Look for ways to maximize your reach. Always check to see if a project could benefit from using a Kiwanis partner. By combining resources, your foundation can help clubs reach even more children.
  3. Review the grants made over the past few years and compare them with current community needs. Is your club or foundation making grants that are still relevant? All foundations should conduct a community needs assessment every few years. Your club may have strong ties to a long-running service project, but it might not be the best way to help children in your community. Conducting a community needs assessment ensures your investment will make an impact.
  4. Take advantage of foundation educational opportunities. The Children’s Fund frequently offers classes or seminars on foundation management through Kiwanis International-related events, conferences and webinars.
  5. Don’t guess — call the Children’s Fund. Issues may arise that need more expertise than a club foundation can provide. The Children’s Fund has expert staff members who are available for assistance with fundraising, grantmaking and compliance issues. Call 1-317-875-8755, ext. 254, or email kiwanischildrensfund@kiwanis.org for professional help.  

Ann Updegraff Spleth is the chief operating officer of the Kiwanis Children’s Fund. She is a certified fundraising executive (CFRE) and is an adjunct faculty member of The Fund Raising School and the Lake Institute for Faith and Giving at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University.

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