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. We highly recommend that you use the navigation or our search feature to find what you're looking for on our site.

The 2012 Grantmakers Salary Tables provide aggregate information on U.S. foundation staff salaries and benefits. Free to participants and Council members and $79 for nonmembers, these tables present information on 34 staff positions across multiple foundation types (community, private, operating, and other), asset sizes and geographic regions. Tables provide the mean, median, range, 25th and 75th percentiles. These tables are included as Chapter 6 in the full 2012 Grantmakers Salary and Benefits Report.

More and more grantmakers are adopting online board portals to expedite the flow of information between the chief executive, staff, and the board.

Together, let's advance philanthropy and advance the common good!

The Council exists to expand, enhance, and sustain the work of the philanthropic field and to ensure that policymakers understand the important role that the field plays in advancing society.

As a national voice for philanthropy, the Council works to create an environment in which philanthropy can thrive by promoting policies that allow the philanthropic sector to remain vibrant, inclusive, innovative, and effective.

The Public Policy Team at the Council works in a number of ways advance philanthropy as a core value, and strengthen the sector.

Meeting with a member of Congress or with congressional staff is an effective way to convey a message about a specific issue or legislative matter. Below are some suggestions for making the most of your visit.

Plan your visit carefully

Be clear about what it is you want to achieve. Determine in advance with whom you need to meet to achieve your purpose.

Each member of Congress has staff to assist him or her during a term in office. To be most effective in communicating with Congress, it is helpful to know the titles and principal functions of key staff.

Commonly used titles and job functions:

Telephoning a Member of Congress

It's easy to contact your federal legislators by telephone. Call the capitol operator directly at 202/224-3121. Once you are connected to the capitol operator, ask for your senator or representative by name. You will then be connected directly to the member’s office.

Identify yourself as a constituent, and deliver your message. Make sure to leave your name and address to get a response.

Local Issues. Local Solutions.

Momentum is Building

Democrats and Republicans, alike, are having conversations about the need to reform the federal income tax code. The last comprehensive reform occurred nearly 30 years ago in 1986, and stakeholders in business, government, and the nonprofit sector—including the Council—have urged lawmakers to revisit certain existing provisions and consider adding new provisions.

In 2008, during the Obama Administration’s transition, Valerie Jarrett, now Senior Advisor to President Obama, was the featured speaker at a Council Policy Forum. She asked foundations to become partners in the social innovation agenda the incoming Administration was committed to incorporate into its policies and programs. The Policy Forum attendees responded positively, and in an effort to provide a coordinated response, the Council organized a formal public-philanthropic partnership initiative.