Gold Star Communities




Do you live in a Gold Star Community? Do you know what that is? Do you know it is a formal designation of the Community Associations Institute (CAI)? If you do, congratulations. If you don’t—and most of us don’t—let’s get you up to speed.

CAI has a “Gold Star Community Recognition Program” which not only acknowledges those communities which conform to best industry practices, but even more useful, provides a guide map to those practices whether or not a community chooses to participate or not. In short, you should check out the program at and see just how many of the list items you already satisfy and which you might want to add to your community’s governance operations.

The program application will walk you through a series of questions which will give you an excellent inventory of your governance practices. For example, there are a series of questions about community and board meetings. Do you have agendas, keep minutes, conduct elections, etc.?

Budgets and finances get a lot of attention, as you might expect. Do you have budgets, or adequate reserves based on a formal Reserve Study which is updated periodically? Do you have adequate insurance coverage for the full range of liabilities? How are community funds handled, and what safeguards are in place to protect them? Are your community finances independently audited each year?

There are additional areas which are worth some consideration. Does your community have a process of rules enforcement and architectural controls? Do you have committees to provide opportunities for members to participate in community governance? How effective are your communications and community building activities? You do have some, don’t you?

Whether or not you check every box, you will benefit from becoming more familiar with the CAI Gold Star program. If you check most of the boxes, and wish to join the program there is a very modest fee and an even more modest annual renewal fee to get formal recognition in various CAI publications and events. It won’t hurt your property values any to have that formal recognition, will it!