In 2014, the Cleveland Foundation became the first community foundation in the world to turn 100 years old. After Frederick H. Goff founded Cleveland’s community foundation in 1914, the idea quickly took off across the United States and today there are an estimated 1,800 community foundations worldwide. This year, six more community foundations are celebrating their centennials with exciting investments in their communities.
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.
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Originally featured on the Knight Foundation Blog on July 8, 2015
Interning at the Council on Foundations is giving us a great look at a cross-section of the philanthropic field. The Council’s members, after all, come in all shapes and sizes – large, small, corporate, community foundations, and everything in between. As much as we research them, as much as we hear their names thrown around, the opportunity to actually visit and connect with a member really brought our work into context.
On July 26th, we mark the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA25), which prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation. The impact of the ADA on grant-funded projects in healthcare, education and housing has been significant, as the 57 million Americans with disabilities comprise the nation’s largest minority.
My book Charitable Foundations: The Essential Guide to Giving and Compliance was published in May 2015. Since publication, a number of people have asked me what led me to write the book. The Council on Foundations has asked me to address that subject in a blog.
The year I was born, 1963, being gay was officially deemed a mental illness by the medical establishment. Same-sex relationships were illegal in every state, save Illinois. The federal government maintained a policy that prohibited the hiring of "known perverts,” then referring to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Americans.
What a long way we have come to today, the day marriage equality was deemed the law of the land by the highest court in our nation.
Social change transpires at a blistering pace, in both promising and discouraging trajectories. After growing up in isolation in South Dakota and cutting my teeth decades ago as an LGBTQ human rights activist, I’m gob-smacked and elated by today’s Supreme Court decision.
This decision is historic for what it accomplished: it righted a wrong. It’s also momentous for what it represents. Empathy. Courage. Equality. Progress.
This article originally appeared on the D5 coalition blog, on 18 June 2015. The original article can be found here.
This article originally appeared on the WINGS blog, Philanthropy In Focus, on 18 June 2015. The original article can be found here.
The fabric of Foundations funding human services forms a rich mosaic with themes as diverse as housing, education, employment, social justice issues, physical and public health. The thread that interconnects with all of these is the mental health of the individuals and communities who are targets for support and improvement. It can be a complicated puzzle.