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Stewardship

Since the Foundation’s inception, the Board of Directors has been committed to the highest standards of stewardship and ethical practices.

Board members are highly-respected civic and business leaders, and they are deeply engaged in the work of the Foundation. Through the Board’s committees, particularly the Stewardship Committee, Risk Management Committee, and the Audit/Compliance Committee, board members take great care in managing the assets donors have entrusted to the Foundation. Board members strive to enact policies and observe best practices that meet the needs of donors, Genesee Community College, and the wider community.

Questions and Answers About Stewardship

We welcome additional questions about our policies and practices, and always strive to provide information that is clear, complete, and useful.

When I make a contribution for a specific purpose, how does the Foundation ensure that my intention and instructions are followed?

  • Donors can contribute to the Foundation’s general fund, which supports a variety of Foundation activities, or to any of 150+ special (restricted) funds. Donors who wish to earmark a contribution to a particular may simply note the name of the fund on their check or pledge card, or attach a note specifying the fund. Donations made to the GCC Foundation without any designation instructions are placed in the general fund. The Foundation’s state-of-the-art accounting system ensures that donors’ wishes are followed, and that we are able to carefully track all contributions, assets, and grants at all times.

How does the GCC Foundation protect my privacy? 

  • The Foundation recognizes that privacy is important to donors in this day and age. The Foundation:
    • Places security blocks on personally identifiable information, such as credit card numbers, limiting access to very few individuals.
    • Does not sell, trade, or share names or any data with other organizations.
    • Will treat any contribution as “anonymous” on request.
    • Observes the spirit of the “do-not-call” laws (although the Foundation as a charity is not legally bound to do so)

I am thinking about creating a GCC Foundation charitable gift annuity. Is it safe?

  • A Charitable Gift Annuity is a form of insurance, and includes a promise by the Foundation to pay a certain amount of income every quarter to a donor (or to a donor and another person) for life. The Foundation protects this promise by maintaining a charitable annuity reserve equivalent to approximately 145% of the lifetime commitments the Foundation has made.

Does the Foundation subscribe to the Donor Bill of Rights?

  • Yes. The Foundation subscribes to the Donor Bill of Rights, which was created and adopted by the nation’s leading philanthropic advocacy organizations, including the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

How is my contribution to the endowment fund managed?

  • The Foundation’s endowment fund exists in perpetuity. Donors often make endowment gifts as a way to permanently preserve their values, interests, and legacy. The Foundation’s endowment investment policy seeks to pursue growth adequate to preserve the long-term earning power of the endowment funds. Under the policy, the Foundation mitigates risk by diversifying assets.
  • The Foundation aggregates all endowment interest, dividends, and gains into a “total return,” and distributes this total return back to each of the donor-namedendowment funds on a pro rata basis. Currently, the Board allocates 4% of the average daily market value of each of the funds from the prior year for scholarships and grants in the current year. The endowment (and therefore, each of the donor-named funds) has earned an average annual total return in excess of 7 ½% for the last decade. The difference between the total return and spending (averaging over 3 ½% annually) has been returned to each of the endowment funds, increasing their value and purchasing power.
  • The Board’s Finance Committee oversees the endowment fund, and retains a professional investment management firm (Manning and Napier Advisors) to assist.

How does the Board of Directors oversee the Foundation’s financial affairs? 

  • The Board of Directors receives detailed monthly financial reports, and the Finance Committee reviews the reports at each of its meetings.The financial statements and underlying records are audited by an independent auditor annually. The Foundation’s current independent auditor is EFPR Group. All of the Foundation’s audited financial statements have been unmodified (“clean”).
  • The Board’s Audit and Compliance Committee monitors and addresses sensitive legal and fiduciary issues. To ensure objectivity and independence, the Committee consists of members who have no financial relationship with the Foundation, GCC, or any other affiliate of GCC, and whose family members have no such financial relationships.The Committee also meets with the independent auditors before and after each annual audit outside of the presence of staff members.

What is the Foundation’s policy on sharing of financial information?

  • The Foundation makes its financial statements and any other regulatory reports available to donors or the general public upon request. The Board of Directors is committed to a high level of transparency and is committed to fully responding to any inquiries or questions about the Foundation’s financial affairs.
  • Although the Foundation is a charitable organization and does not pay taxes, it still files an annual information return ("990") with the Internal Revenue Service. The information return summarizes the Foundation’s financial status and activities, although in a somewhat different format than the annual independently audited statements. The information return also contains many disclosures about the Foundation’s governance and management practices.
  • Information returns are public documents. You can obtain information returns on most charitable organizations in the United States from Guidestar. For a copy of the Foundation’s most recently audited balance sheet, income statement or 990 form, email foundation@genesee.edu or call 585-345-6809.

Does the GCC Foundation have a “whistleblower” policy?

  • Most charitable organizations in New York State are required to adopt a “whistleblower” policy. The GCC Foundation adopted such a policy long before it was required by law. Under the Foundation’s “whistleblower” policy, employees, board members and volunteers can report acts of fraud or theft, or violations of law, regulation or policy without fear of retaliation.
  • Reports may be made to:
  • Reports are held in confidence to the greatest extent possible. Because the Foundation is committed to fully investigating any reports, absolute confidentiality cannot be guaranteed.
  • If you would like to obtain a copy of the full text of the Foundation’s whistleblower policy, simply e-mail The Foundation at foundation@genesee.edu.

How does the Foundation make grants to Genesee Community College?

  • The Foundation makes scholarships and other grants available to Genesee Community College annually. The College makes a formal, itemized request to the Foundation for support, based on student needs. The Foundation’s Stewardship Committee reviews each request, making a recommendation on grant support to the Board of Directors, and monitoring the uses of the grant once approved.

How does the Foundation manage sensitive ethical issues?

  • Over the years, the Board of Directors has adopted a variety of policies ensuring that the Foundation meets the highest ethical standards. For example, the Foundation has conflict-of-interest, “whistleblower,” and compliance policies that exceed the requirements of state law.