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.

‘Big Data’ is a hot topic in philanthropy. But what does it actually represent, and how can foundations be most effective in using this data to help inform and advance their work? The first installment of our Leading Forward webinar series will highlight different ways foundations are using Big Data, and how Big Data is being used more broadly to provide insights into the state of the philanthropic field.

Speaker Highlights

Kate Ahern, Vice President of Social Innovation, Case Foundation

The Council on Foundations is pleased to announce the first of two webinars we will offer in preparation for the upcoming “Philanthropy Week in Washington” and “Foundations on the Hill.”

“Creating Effective Stories that Lawmakers Will Remember” will offer tips and tools for crafting an effective message to deliver to your policymakers. We’re pleased to offer this webinar in partnership with the Congressional Management Foundation, which has done extensive research on best practices for influencing lawmakers.

The Council on Foundations takes a leadership role in shaping community foundations' self-regulation by promoting The National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations™.

What are National Standards?

The National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations™ (National Standards) is an accreditation program created by community foundations for community foundations.  They are peer-driven, voluntary, and self-regulatory.

Find community foundations in your area by clicking on the map. You can view a listing of all accredited community foundations on the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations™ website.

Local Issues. Local Solutions.

Donor advised funds are a unique philanthropic tool. They allow donors to establish accounts at institutions, such as community foundations, and remain involved in supporting the causes and issues they care about. Community foundations oversee and manage funds on behalf of families, groups, or individuals and, in many cases, have the discretion to direct some of the resources to priority causes the foundation identifies. Together DAFs and community foundations are brining local solutions to the causes and issues that matter most.

This webinar show how 10 states are implementing a web-based platform to help foundations and other community organizations respond effectively to civic challenges.

The Urban Institute's system includes tools community foundations can use to:

This webinar addresses the core question: How can emerging community foundations staff at small scale for big results? It presents principles employed by a group of small, growing community foundations in California, and illustrates the priorities and personalities that were drivers of specific staffing approaches.

Featured Speakers and Commentators:

This webinar covered effective ways of communicating with members of Congress using the Internet and social media.

Featured Speakers:

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