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Community Foundation of Northern Nevada: At Every Step, Protecting Your Confidentiality

Computer keyboard with a blue key that says Privacy

Privacy is Paramount for Donors and Fundholders

By Chris Askin CSPG, CFRE
President & CEO

From my very first year at the Community Foundation of Northern Nevada, one of my key learnings was the importance of absolute privacy and confidentiality. Members of the Board at the Foundation do not need to know, and never know, who is giving to the Community Foundation, nor which Funds are making grants from the Community Foundation. In fact, I was approached early on by some Board members who have charitable funds with us, who explained that we need the highest level of confidentiality that ensures their privacy: What, how, when, and where they give must be kept completely private.

I believe their foresight in that moment is a key reason we have become a trusted partner in working with donors and professional advisors to develop and execute on people’s charitable plans. The separation of the Board’s duties for governance from the operational side of the Community Foundation is what makes this possible – and proper. Our digital and paper records and files are only accessible to the staff whose work requires it, and the coding on those records provides additional security to ensure that staff cannot even accidentally share confidential information.

The Board of Directors governs through policy and leadership, at the heart of which is a robust Privacy of Information Policy, which I invite and encourage you to review. As you’ll see, information on donors and fundholders is not just kept private within our structure, but their privacy extends to whether or not they are listed in our published materials, and certainly prohibits the Community Foundation from ever sharing or selling any contact information. We additionally have bank-level security with robust firewalls and other security measures on our server and communication systems. For more than 20 years, our systems have continued to become more sophisticated, updated, and technologically advanced to ensure that we continue to earn the community’s trust.

We educate the board and staff about the critical need for privacy, and each team member reviews and signs our Confidentiality Policy. It’s crucial to establish an understanding about the paramount need for privacy with all new staff and board members. There are elements of our work that involve the most private financial, estate, and family information, but thankfully, our privacy-foremost approach has resulted in donors and fundholders sharing information with us that helps us to help them design and execute high-performing and gratifying charitable gifting plans.

Interestingly, we speak with people who are considering significant charitable plans, deciding between a private foundation or a charitable fund at the Community Foundation. Privacy is one the considerations that frequently tips the scale to setting up a fund with the Community Foundation. That’s because a private foundation isn’t private at all, since private foundations’ tax returns are publicly available on the Internet. There isn’t much private about that.

Fundholders count on confidentiality as a fundamental aspect of our service. Donors and professional advisors alike have said they are impressed with the value that we place on discretion and privacy. Nothing could please me more. When you consider philanthropy, please think about the Community Foundation of Northern Nevada. We will be most privileged to work with you – while fully respecting and protecting your privacy and confidentiality. 

The Community Foundation of Northern Nevada is strengthening our community through philanthropy and leadership by connecting people who care with causes that matter. If you'd like more information, call (775) 333-5499 or email here.

July 24, 2021