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.

As my colleague Peter Pennekamp from the Humboldt Area Foundation says, when it comes to community leadership it’s not always the most pressing issue that you need to be working on; it’s the issue where there’s energy and heat. In a word: tension. And in our community, there’s tension around immigration.

From April 29-May 2, Los Angeles will play host to the 2012 Council on Foundations Annual Conference. As a member of the planning task force and the foundation community of L.A., I want to extend a special invitation to community foundations to participate.

Attending this week’s annual Knight Foundation Media Learning Seminar in Miami, we were struck not only by how much has been accomplished by the Knight Community Information Challenge (KCIC), but also by how much the conversation has evolved. It was just a few years ago that Alberto Ibargüen, president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, announced the KCIC and its Knight Information Challenge Grant program during the Council on Foundations Fall Conference for Community Foundations.

As community foundations become active leaders in local news and information, many are learning they don’t need to go it alone. A variety of different partnership models are emerging and they are detailed in a new report by FSG for Knight Foundation

On January 9th, Wall Street Journal blogger Veronica Dagher posted an article highlighting the opportunity for philanthropic donors with Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) to create a “double bottom line.” Dagher points out that donors at large national funds, such as Schwab, are increasingly looking not only to create social impact by spending their money in the social sector, but also by investing their money to create a positive impact through impact

I looked down at my phone as it began to ring and I screamed with frustration, “Seriously? Again?!? Don’t they realize that it is 3 p.m. on a Friday?” That was the tagline I was known all too well for when I did housing relocations for tenants. Housing inspectors would notoriously find a home to condemn for unsafe housing conditions, including supporting beams being taken down and illegal sleeping quarters in basements, attics, and even kitchen pantries.

I’ve long been wary about in-house videos. Because, let’s face it, videos can be tough to pull off. So it was with some trepidation that we decided not just to make our first set of short videos this year, but to feature them at our 25th anniversary annual meeting-indeed, to make them the centerpiece of the program for the afternoon.

by PJ Watters

As a community foundation, we are always talking about our role connecting "people who care" with "causes that matter." When we award grants from our funds, people don't usually know who's behind the fund name-and they should! It's time we tell our fund founders' stories. So we created some public service announcements to bring donors' passions to the forefront.

by Hillary Nather-Detisch

This past Tuesday we celebrated National Philanthropy Day, a day to celebrate the good that's happened, the change that's been created, the effects of philanthropy, and the generosity of others. At a luncheon today in Omaha, our local chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals will be honoring amazing philanthropists and volunteer fundraisers from throughout the state. It will be a reflective and appreciative celebration, one that will showcase how philanthropy is intertwined with our everyday activities, and I'm honored to participate.

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