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 end of 2015 nears and Congress gears up to take action before the session ends, the philanthropic sector is coming together to make our voice heard.

Partner Opportunities

Join us as a Partner at the 2016 Annual Conference

The philanthropic community will come together at the 2016 Annual Conference to address some of today's toughest challenges. The Council on Foundations' Annual Conference brings together global leaders from across philanthropy to develop the ideas and strategies that will shape the future.

Excellence In Community Philanthropy

National Standards are used by community foundations of all sizes, scopes, and areas of focus throughout the United States. They provide vital guidance on how community foundations should operate, distribute funds, and determine impact on the communities they serve.

The Council on Foundations maintains a no-solicitation policy covering all of its conferences, meetings, webinars and other events. In order to provide a distraction-free environment for our members and other attendees, we do not allow solicitation of any kind during any event, including asking for business, soliciting fund management services, distributing grant proposals, or requesting grant funding. Additionally, Council members expect that participation in Council events will not result in future solicitations unless the member specifically invites future contact.

Community Foundations' individual success stories can help to demonstrate the philanthropic sector’s impact as a whole, as well as the specific, innovative, real-life solutions you are using every day. Showcasing these achievements, while highlighting the unique role fulfilled by Community Foundations, is an effective way to demonstrate your impact and advance your mission. These tools can help you tailor your stories to achieve your goals.

Preconference Programming

Separate registration is required for all of these events. Space is limited. Register now!

Online Registration

To make the online registration process as fast and simple as possible, you must have an account with the Council. Once you log in, the online registration system will auto-fill your contact information and assign the correct pricing for the event.

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Hotel & Travel

All conference sessions and activities will take place at The Washington Hilton unless otherwise noted.

The Washington Hilton

1919 Connecticut Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 483-3000