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.

Under the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA), the rules for public disclosure of the Form 990-T by public charities and private foundations became identical to those for Form 990.

Which forms are affected?

Any Form 990-T filed after August 17, 2006.

The Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA) imposes requirements for determining the charitable deduction permitted for gifts of fractional interests in tangible personal property. 

What contributions are affected?

These requirements apply to contributions made after August 17, 2006.

Contributions of clothing and household items

Section 1216 of the Pension Protection Act of 2006 (PPA) imposes requirements for contributions of clothing and household items to charity. The provision is effective for contributions made after the date of enactment (August 17, 2006).

If our organization holds donor advised funds, what information must we provide on Form 990?
A sponsoring organization, such as a community foundation, must disclose on Schedule D, Part I of its 990 the following information:

This booklet focuses on how donor-advised funds at community foundations strengthen and improve American communities. These funds are also versatile tools that other charitable organizations effectively employ to provide support to communities with shared interests in the arts, education, health, religion, and social services both inside and outside the United States.

This handy flowchart can help foundations determine which funds should be classified as donor advised under the Pension Protection Act of 2006.
Remember, a fund is only a donor advised fund if:

  • A donor or person appointed or designated by the donor has, or reasonably expects to have, advisory privileges with respect to distributions or investments;
  • The fund is separately identified by reference to contributions of donor(s); and
  • The fund does not fall within an exception established by the Act.

The Pension Protection Act (PPA) was signed into law by President Bush on August 17, 2006. The PPA was designed to improve pension plan funding requirements of employers, as well as 401(k), IRA and other retirement plans. The PPA also included numerous provisions that affect charitable giving.

The legal and tax implications for community foundations accepting donations from private foundations, and qualifying distributions of taxable expenditures. Additional insight into converting a private foundation into a supporting organization of a community foundation.

Most states have registration and/or reporting laws that apply to nonprofit organizations soliciting contributions within the state. Information about registration is available through individual states or the Multi-State Filer Project.

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