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 Philanthropy-Joining Forces Impact Pledge today announced more than $106 million in new commitments to strengthen services and support for millions of veterans and military families throughout America. Six new grantmakers joined more than 30 philanthropic organizations and corporations that made the Impact Pledge since 2014.

Since last year’s Impact Pledge announcement of $170,000,000, an additional $106,225,000 has been committed (both cash and in-kind), bringing the total to $276,225,000. These new Impact Pledge members include:

This Memorial Day takes on new significance for the philanthropic sector as we take our commitment to veterans and their families to another level.

The Orcas Island Community Foundation (OICF) is a small but mighty foundation. In 2011, with assets of $4 million spread across 70+ funds, we had outgrown our ‘off the shelf’ bookkeeping software, spending over half of our precious staff time on accounting. We struggled with finding right sized technology. Like Goldilocks, the existing programs just did not fit, being too cumbersome, too complicated, and far too expensive. Not a recipe for growth.

The Council on Foundations applauds Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) for introducing The Public Good IRA Rollover Act of 2015 (S.1159). This measure would make permanent and expand the IRA charitable rollover, a valuable incentive for Americans to contribute to charitable organizations across the country their mandatory distributions from IRA accounts. The Council is also grateful for Senator Susan Collins’ (R-ME) co-sponsorship and support.

The Council on Foundations wrote to the Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) this week to urge them to prioritize several regulations and guidance documents that impact our members. Each year, the Priority Guidance Plan identifies and prioritizes those tax issues that the agencies should address through regulations or revenue rulings, procedures, notices, and guidance throughout the upcoming year.

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.

Civil Society in America faces the challenge of storytelling. Democracy thrives on the free availability of information and viewpoints. We must guard against hegemony that stifles innovation and protect voices of the marginalized. To do so, we should ensure that everyone's story is told.

The 2016 Annual Conference

Join us for the premiere annual gathering of foundation leaders in the United States.

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.