Community Foundations

Community foundations are grantmaking public charities that are dedicated to improving the lives of people in a defined local geographic area. They bring together the financial resources of individuals, families, and businesses to support effective nonprofits in their communities. Community foundations vary widely in asset size, ranging from less than $100,000 to more than $1.7 billion.

Community foundations play a key role in identifying and solving community problems. In 2011, they gave an estimated $4.3 billion to a variety of nonprofit activities in fields that included the arts and education, health and human services, the environment, and disaster relief. The Community Foundations National Standards Board confirms operational excellence in six key areas—mission, structure, and governance; resource development; stewardship and accountability; grantmaking and community leadership; donor relations; and communications. Foundations that comply with these standards can display the official National Standards Seal. Right now nearly 500 community foundations have earned the seal.

More than 750 community foundations operate in urban and rural areas in every state in the United States; currently, more than 570 belong to the Council on Foundations. The community foundation model also has taken hold around the world. According to the 2010 Community Foundation Global Status Report, there are 1,680 community foundations in 51 countries. Forty-six percent exist outside of the United States. You can use our Community Foundation Locator to view a list of community foundations in the United States.

Below is everything on our site for community foundations. We highly recommend that you use the navigation or our search feature to find what you're looking for on our site.

In this week's Washington Snapshot:

This is the Council on Foundations team reporting from the 33rd Annual Representing and Managing Tax-Exempt Organizations Conference. This conference is the best-attended EO conference in the United States, and we are thrilled to see so many of our members and colleagues here.

What is corporate integration?

Corporate integration is a way of addressing the issue of “double taxation” on corporate income. Under our current system, corporate income is taxed at two levels: the level of corporate profits and the level of shareholder dividends.

The Council on Foundations is pleased to announce the four new members of its board of directors, each of whom will serve for three years. Elected at the Council’s 2016 annual conference on April 11, Tonya Allen, the president and CEO of The Skillman Foundation, Jamie Merisotis, the president and CEO of the Lumina Foundation, Tony Mestres, the president and CEO of The Seattle Foundation, and R. Randall Royster, the president and CEO of the Albuquerque Community Foundation, join the Council’s 17-member board.

The Community Foundations National Standards Board has elected Hazle Hamilton, Executive Vice President of the Community Foundation of Central Georgia, as its new President. Hamilton will succeed R. Randall (Randy) Royster in the leadership position. Royster has transitioned onto the Council on Foundations Board. The Community Foundations National Standards Board oversees the management and administration of the National Standards for US Community Foundations™ (National Standards) program.

I have attended a lot of conferences over the years and have always felt driven to go to as many sessions as possible, to gather information and knowledge to bring back to my colleagues at the Maine Community Foundation. This time around was no different: I set out to get the latest on National Standards, to explore issues related to endowed philanthropy, to learn how community foundations and United Ways can do more together.

Last year, the Council and ICNL convened foundations to discuss how a draft Foreign NGO law in China might impact their work. The Council also submitted formal comments about concerns with this law to the Chinese government.

In this week's Washington Snapshot:

Earthquakes rocked Ecuador, Japan, and Myanmar this past weekend, affecting thousands, and reminding all of us how vulnerable communities are to external disaster shocks.

In this week's Washington Snapshot: