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.

As the nation approaches the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States, our society remains conflicted on our ability to be united as a people. We find ourselves seeking relief from the divisiveness brought about by several events of the prior year: the civil unrest in many of our communities, the contentious rhetoric associated with the presidential campaign, and the demonstrations of intolerance against the LGBTQ and racial/ethnic communities. Many within our field are working to heal these divisions.

Monday, January 16, is Martin Luther King Jr. Day (MLK Day), a federal holiday in the U.S. The fact that a federal holiday was designated to commemorate the birthdate of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is significant - only two other figures have national holidays in the U.S. honoring them: George Washington and Christopher Columbus.

In this Week's Edition of Snapshot...

In this Week's Edition of Snapshot...

The Council on Foundations announced today that 24 promising philanthropic leaders have been selected to participate in the fourth Career Pathways Program. This intensive, year-long leadership development program is designed to foster diverse talent and excellence among the philanthropic sector's senior executives.

Happy 2017! I’m kicking off the new year sharing updates and resources to help you as you prepare and plan for what lies ahead. Find out about trends that will affect philanthropy, learn how best to stay up to date on important policy developments in Washington, D.C., and don’t miss out on great new learning and networking opportunities coming up this year.

What Will Shape the World in 2017?

Shortly after the 2016 election, the Council on Foundations announced it had hired veteran nonprofit executive Chris Gates as executive vice president for external affairs, a new position.

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Co-hosted by the Council on Foundations and the IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.  Speakers and participants will include experts from the Council on Foundations, the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, and Indiana philanthropic and economic development institutions.

The Council’s Public-Philanthropic Partnership Office will host a webinar for funders only with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Children and Families to help foundations understand the regular programs and goals of the agency.