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.

Today, the House Ways and Means Committee met to markup several important bills focused on the charitable sector. One bill would make the charitable “tax extenders”—including the IRA charitable rollover—permanent law. Another would simplify the private foundation excise tax on investment income to a single rate of 1%. The Council has already expressed support for both of these measures. All five bills were passed out of the Committee and will now face a full House of Representatives vote.

The following infographic was prepared by Mark Neithercut, of Neithercut Philanthropy Advisors. You can also see his earlier graphic, Six Misconceptions About Family Foundations.

What was your life path that led you to philanthropy?
What do you count as your biggest accomplishment in this field?
Can you describe the greatest obstacle you have had to overcome in your career?

In this week's This Week at the Council, you'll find:

In this week's Washington Snapshot, you'll find:

”The universe is made of stories, not of atoms,” said poet Muriel Rukeyser.

In this week's edition of Washington Snapshot, you'll find:

In this week's edition of Washington Snapshot, you'll find:

  • The IRA Charitable Rollover - Working Toward Permanence & Expansion
  • New Dates - "Tax Reform: Charting the Future of Philanthropy" Webinars
  • Happenings on the Hill
  • Philanthropy News and Op-Eds

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In this weeks This Week at the Council, you'll read about:

  • Deadline Extended: Submit Your Nominations for the Council Award Program
  • Elevating Philanthropy's Support for Veterans
  • Loyola University Honors Vikki Spruill
  • Healthy Minds Healthy Communities
  • Tweet of the Week

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