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.

Bipartisan consensus around criminal justice reform is growing nationally with more foundations increasing their efforts to change the way we think about prisons and public safety. As this issue continues to gain momentum, we ask how can philanthropy take a leadership role in reforming the criminal justice system in America?

Join the Council on Foundations for a Twitter Chat, Wednesday, August 26 from 12-1 PM ET, as we explore these important questions together.

Please join the Council on Foundations and WINGS  for a webinar about the shrinking space for philanthropy and civil society globally. 

Join the Council on Foundations, nonprofit media organizations, foundations, journalists, academics, and other stakeholders for a conversation about the role of nonprofit media in fostering a vibrant civil society in local communities.

A well-trained staff and an informed board are critical to the success of community foundations in our fast-changing world. This two-day course helps new and experienced foundation stakeholders build the essential skills they need to balance governance and management.

Created and led by experienced leaders, this course includes:

Stephanie Bell-Rose, Senior Managing Director of the TIAA-CREF Institute, shares the Working Group's vision of the Endowments and Financial Services Summit.

This guide, published by Confluence Philanthropy, focuses on how a foundation can leverage its assets in service of its mission by investing cash locally through community-based financing. It reviews the different types of depositories, as well as the steps on how to get started carrying your cash, and also features two foundation case studies.

On April 25, 2015 a 7.8 magnitude earthquake occurred in Nepal, in an area between the capitol city of Kathmandu and the city of Pokhara, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Tremors and aftershocks were felt across the region in India, Bangladesh, Tibet and on Mount Everest. As the world has watched the devastation unfold, the question “what should I do?” has been repeated.

Join Council staff members, Kim Bluitt, Member Relations Director, Pacific, and your peers in the Southern California area for peer networking and conversation on the benefits of Council membership. The Council provides an array of services to assist foundation members. We are constantly seeking member feedback to improve our services and develop new ones to continue providing you with the most relevant and timely resources.  

Tiziana Dearing is the former CEO of Boston Rising, a place-based, anti-poverty, public foundation that aimed to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty by replicating the Robin Hood Foundationand Harlem Children Zone’s models in Grove Hall, a Boston neighborhood inundated with poverty and crime.

Over three years, Boston Rising invested $4 Million in residents, promising entrepreneurs and under performing schools, then -- it dissolved.

Participants Will Learn