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.

The Council on Foundations is pleased to announce that Brad Ward has been named its new Director of Community Philanthropy. He joins the Council’s member relations team led by Paula Wolferseder Yabar to expand the Council’s support of community foundations and other philanthropic organizations focused on community- and place-based philanthropy.

In this week's Washington Snapshot:

  • Ways & Means Working Toward Tax Reform;
  • Primary Season is Officially Underway;
  • Adding Scholarship Restriction for Renewal Purposes;
  • Emerging State Issue: Turning to States to Solve the Impasse Over Obamacare.

Read all this and more, online now!

Today, the Council on Foundations and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) launched the 2016 HUD Secretary's Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships. HUD and the Council are seeking nominations from charitable foundations working with the public sector to improve the neighborhoods and the quality of life for low- and moderate-income residents.

In this week's Washington Snapshot:

  • Hatch's Tax Reform Plan Could Impact Nonprofits;
  • First Ways & Means Hearing of the Year Rescheduled;
  • Contributing Trustee Compensation to a DAF;
  • The Year Opens with State Budget Challenges and Opportunities;
  • Op-Ed Calls for the Sector to Strive for Increased Charitable Giving.

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Foundations and Systemic Global Challenges

The Council on Foundations and European Foundation Centre will co-host a meeting on Saturday, April 9 in Washington DC, as a globally-focused pre-conference to the 2016 Council on Foundations Annual Conference. This day-long event will bring together key leaders of US and European foundations working internationally and on global issues to discuss complex systemic challenges Foundations are tackling, including climate change and migration. Taking a 15-20 year perspective, we will encourage foundation leaders to:

The Council on Foundations has named Hadar Susskind its Vice President of Public Policy, a new position intended to advance the Council’s public policy work on behalf of its members. Hadar joins the Council’s nationally recognized Public Policy and Legal Affairs team led by Sue Santa.

Also viewable on LinkedIn Pulse.

Recently, I saw the power of what happens when you put a few dozen foundation CEOs in a room together to discuss the future. They generate as many questions for each other as answers, and, as the head of the Council on Foundations, I’d say that’s a great thing for the communities philanthropy serves. After all, learning and leading together is how lasting solutions are made.

In this week's Washington Snapshot:

  • Upcoming Ways & Means Hearing Will Address Tax Reform;
  • New Changes to IRS Advisory Committee on Exempt Organizations;
  • Update: New Jersey Hospital Property Tax Remains in Flux;
  • Illinois Leading Efforts to Implement Federal Grants Reform;
  • Philanthropy is Projected to Increase in 2016 and 2017.

Read all this and more, online now!