Standards for Excellence – The Light of Truth Center
We are pleased to announce that LTC has again, received the Seal of Excellence from Maryland Nonprofits Standards for Excellence voluntary certification program! This Seal represents achieving the highest level of nonprofit ethics and accountability in all areas of management and governance, reviewed by both anonymous peers and Maryland Nonprofits staff.
Vaile Leonard, Founder/CEO states “the Standards changed the face of the organization.It really made us step back and take a look at what we were doing, how we were providing services and how we were running the organization. It made us look at what was working and what was not working very well. Some of our policies were moved, some of our policies we revised. The wonderful unexpected benefit was how it brought the board together and how it energized the organization as a whole.”
Achieving this award is no small feat. LTC is among 74 organizations that have reached this level of excellence, and maintaining it requires that every member of the organization be in alignment with it’s mission and goals. We are proud to be among such illustrious nonprofits within the surrounding Washington-Baltimore area.
Maryland Nonprofits offers a voluntary, peer-review based accreditation program for nonprofit organizations that wish to demonstrate that they are adhering to high standards of effectiveness and accountability.
The Start of Excellence
In 2006, LTC decided to apply for this prestigious honor. – Recognizing Excellence – LTC Earns the Seal – The Daily Record
Traveling on the road of “Excellence” is a journey that is not to be taken lightly. When you take that first step you are proclaiming that nothing will hold you back. You are proclaiming that you have what it takes to “stay the course.” Well, after an extensive journey of persistence and quiet determination, The Light of Truth Center, Inc. (LTC) succeeded.
Joining the ranks of the many other illustrious organizations that held to their vision of excellence, we have been certified and awarded the Maryland Non-Profit Seal of Excellence. WOW! We are so proud of this major achievement. As such, we continue on the journey of Excellence!
The Seal of Excellence is only awarded to nonprofit organizations in the state who have achieved excellence in all areas of operation including direct program services, fundraising, and financial systems. LTC is now a part of 73 illustrious nonprofit’s in Maryland that have been given this award since the program began in 1998.
The following gives you complete detail of what the standards are all about.
The Standards of Excellence
“The Standards for Excellence aims to raise the level of accountability, transparency, and effectiveness of all nonprofit organizations to foster excellence and inspire trust. The Standards for Excellence code (Standards, or code) provides a framework and step-by-step guidelines to achieve a well-managed and responsibly governed organization.
The code builds upon the legal foundations of nonprofit management, governance, and operations to embrace fundamental values such as honesty, integrity, fairness, respect, trust, compassion, responsibility, and transparency. The code consists of six Guiding Principles in 27 topic areas with specific performance benchmarks that characterize effective, ethical, and accountable organizations. The Institute helps the nonprofit sector operate in accordance with the Standards for Excellence code by providing educational resources, assistance, and a voluntary accreditation process.
The Standards for Excellence Institute encourages all nonprofit organizations to adopt the Guiding Principles of the Standards for Excellence code. By implementing the performance benchmarks in the code, nonprofit organizations will meet the highest ethical standards for effective service in the public interest.”
The Standards set a high benchmark; going beyond minimum legal requirements by outlining how well managed and responsibly governed nonprofits should operate.
A Voluntary Certification Program
Maryland Nonprofits offers a voluntary, peer-review, certification program for nonprofit organizations interested in demonstrating that they carry out the Standards. Those organizations that prove compliance become certified and to participate, organizations must submit a written application, provide documentation, and pay an application fee.
A panel of trained peer-reviewers assesses the applicant’s practices and determines if they have met the Standards. Certified organizations are given permission to use the Seal of Excellence, a symbol the public and donors alike can trust.
Maryland Nonprofits Helps Nonprofits Achieve the Standards
Maryland Nonprofits works with its members to implement the Standards in their organizations by offering written educational materials, training seminars, and one-on-one assistance to organizations.
Standards for Excellence: A Symbol of Trust
Only organizations which demonstrate their compliance with the Standards are given permission to use the Seal of Excellence.
The Seal of Excellence is a symbol of trust.
Organizations that display the seal not only obey the law, but also go beyond the minimum requirements set forth by government regulation.
The Seal of Excellence is a symbol for excellence in nonprofit management.
Organizations that display the seal are guided by a well-defined mission, have evaluation systems in place to measure the effectiveness of their programs, and adhere to sound financial management policies.
The Seal of Excellence is a symbol of excellence in leadership.
Organizations that display the seal are led by a volunteer board of directors that accepts responsibility to oversee the organization’s mission, policies, and programs, human and financial resources.
The Seal of Excellence is a symbol of openness and disclosure in nonprofits.
Organizations that display the seal have information available to the public, provide truthful responsible stewardship of all donations, and provide a voice for their constituents.
According to a recent public opinion poll, 85% of Marylanders asserted that whether or not a charity has a seal of approval for ethical standards and accountability given by a reputable association is an important factor in making giving decisions.
(The above information can be found on the Maryland Nonprofits website here)