Sometimes the best approach to solving a problem is to leverage others’ strengths and focus your own effort. Fiscal Sponsorship is a service the Foundation provides to help address community-wide problems as an alternative to starting and running a nonprofit organization.
What I enjoy most about working with Fiscally Sponsored projects is their diversity. Each is unique and interesting in its own way. For example, “Bernstein 100” is raising resources to celebrate the centennial year of American musical legend Leonard Bernstein with a 250-person music and dance performance in Austin next summer. Another fund is Las Comadres, a local branch of a national networking group, which is raising money to help elders remain in their East Austin homes.
Earlier this month the Foundation formally launched its updated Fiscal Sponsorship program which I was hired last fall to create. Since the launch we have added several new projects and plan to add more projects every quarter.
Fiscal Sponsorship is a cost effective way for individuals or coalitions to implement new programs and test new approaches for social change in our community. It is a formal arrangement in which Austin Community Foundation agrees to provide its tax exempt status to a Project with significant community benefit but lacking its own tax exempt status. This “umbrella” partnership allows projects to leverage the Foundation’s robust back-office infrastructure and technical assistance. Allowing project leaders to focus on implementing mission-based programs and services while the Foundation team takes care of the management functions of finance, legal compliance, and risk management.
Fiscal sponsorship also assures funders and others who invest in sponsored projects that their dollars are being accounted for and well managed.
Projects working in Central Texas that offer a unique or innovative solution to a local need or close the opportunity gap may apply for fiscal sponsorship by Austin Community Foundation.