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. You can use the filtering options on the right to narrow these results.

Every five years, the community foundation field selects representatives to review the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations™.  2015 marks the tenth anniversary of the first community foundations receiving their accreditation; therefore the National Standards Action Team, the Community Foundation National Standards Board, and the Council on Foundations took this moment to reflect on ensuring the National Standards reflect effective and legal practices of the field as well as provide a streamlined submission process.

The 2015 Annual Meeting

Join us in San Francisco!
April 26 - 28, 2015

Preconference: April 24 & 25, 2015
San Francisco Marriott Marquis

Join the Council for a briefing by Purdue University’s Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) on Monday, August 11 at 1:00 PM ET, regarding mental health issues faced by Active, Guard, and Reserve service members and their families.

The Pension Protection Act of 2006 includes the first comprehensive regulation of donor advised funds. These requirements generally took effect at the beginning of the tax year following enactment of the Act, for charities that hold assets in such funds. However, a provision barring the payment from donor advised funds of grants, compensation and similar payments to donors, advisors, and persons related to them took effect immediately on August 17, 2006.

Thriving Philanthropy Makes Thriving Communities

There are several proposals being considered in Congress that have significant implications for philanthropy and its effectiveness in addressing some of our most pressing challenges. In addition to educating lawmakers in Washington, D.C., communicating the impact locally is just as important! Here are some ways your organization can spread the word about the correlation between philanthropy and thriving communities.

Media Outreach

Letter to the Editor

This guidebook, originally drafted in 2009 to summarize the redesigned Form 990 filing requirements applicable to community foundations, incorporates IRS updates through the 2013 Form 990. The Fiscal & Administrative Officers Group For Community Foundations’ Accounting Practices Committee has again worked with Deloitte Tax to incorporate the IRS changes to the 2013 Form 990 into this guidebook.

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