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.

Join us for a webinar sponsored by the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University to learn more about access to care for military veterans and their families. This webinar will explore the scientific realities behind an important policy issue. Specific topics will include the barriers to care, access to care, the behavioral health work force, and family focused systems of care. The goal of this webinar is not to make specific policy recommendations but rather to increase the impact of science in policy. 

In anticipation of important upcoming regulatory developments that will impact your global grantmaking, the Council is pleased to host the first in a series of conversations about cross-border philanthropy.

Are you having trouble with the Exchange? Have no fear! I'm here to help.

This webinar covered how to post, search the libraries, and find other members. It's an easy way to get to know this new platform and learn all the great things it has to offer.

A well-trained staff and a well-informed board are crucial to community foundation success in a fast-changing world. This two-day course helps new and experienced foundation stakeholders build essential skills they need. Created and led by experienced leaders, this course includes:

  • Updates on key legal and legislative issues;
  • Information on grantmaking;
  • Review of community leadership and fiduciary responsibilities.

$595.00 Member/$809.00 Nonmember

Please join Council on Foundations members and others within the Southern California philanthropic community for a unique program to learn about the opportunities and challenges affecting the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors at a local, state, and federal levels as the 2016 election cycle gets underway.

Learn more about how you can maximize the Council's network to further enhance your work in the field. Senior leaders from the Council discussed additional services, initiatives, and updates that have an impact on the larger philanthropic community and Council members.

Free Webinar Open to All Philanthropic Organizations
Wednesday, January 7, 2015 at 1pm ET

The Charitable IRA Portfolio is a collection of tools designed to help communicate the exciting giving opportunities available to donors. 

If you are an accredited community foundation, but not a member of the Council, please email membership@cof.org in order to access the toolkit.

Revised to reflect recent legislative changes, the portfolio includes:

The 2014 Community Foundation Week Toolkit has sample resources and tools to help with outreach and publicity as your community foundation celebrates its work.

This explanatory overview of community foundations can help the public better understand the field of community philanthropy, and how your foundation works.

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