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.

The Principles were created by representatives of more than 40 charitable sector organizations including the Council on Foundations (the working group coordinator), Independent Sector, InterAction and Grantmakers Without Borders, as an alternative to the U.S. Treasury Department's Voluntary Anti-Terrorist Guidelines.

2005, 14 pages

The Council is proud to mark the 100th anniversary of the nation’s first community foundation, the Cleveland Foundation, by celebrating the impact of the first century of community philanthropy and looking ahead to the next 100 years.

This report presents 2011 salaries and compensation trends over a wide range of positions and grantmaking entities—community, private (family and independent) and public foundations and corporate grantmakers. Based on actual salaries, the report covers 34 positions and provides mean, median, range, 25th, and 75th percentile figures. In addition to analyzing salaries and compensation trends, the full 2011 Grantmakers Salary and Benefits Report includes data on staff demographics, salary administration, and benefits.

2011, 88 pages

This report presents 2011 salaries and compensation trends over a wide range of positions and grantmaking entities-community foundations, private foundations (family and independent), public foundations, and corporate grantmakers. Based on actual salaries, the report covers 34 positions and allows grantmakers to benchmark compensation against their peers by foundation type, size, and region. The report also offers extensive information on benefits policies and practices and includes new data on health-care premiums by plan type.

 

Community Foundations Handbook introduces community foundation CEOs and their staffs to choices—about governance, management, administration, and resource development. Although written primarily for staff, the chapters are broad enough that board members and volunteers will find them valuable. For newcomers, this handbook will serve as a comprehensive orientation to the field. For seasoned staff seeking professional development, it provides a useful refresher.

2006, 274 pages

Publicly supported charities, including community foundations, typically recognize the importance of the public support test in maintaining public charity status. This convenient reference explains the test and provides the tools to help calculate this critical percentage. The fourth edition of this easy-to-read how-to guide incorporates the significant updates to the public support test regulations the Department of the Treasury issued in 2011.
2012, 46 pages

In June, I had the pleasure of introducing four recent graduates of the Cleveland School District at the Cleveland Foundation’s annual meeting. We wanted to showcase top achievers to put a human face on the investment we’ve made in the future of Cleveland’s young people. These college-bound students are a fitting example of why philanthropy matters, today and for generations to come. Let me tell you more about these exceptional young people:

The Northern Virginia region includes Loudoun County, a traditionally rural area that has seen drastic suburbanization and growth in the past two decades. The shift in its focus and population caused those of us at the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia to ask an age-old question: How do we engage donors in this area to support efforts that strengthen their own community?

Two years ago, Endeavor Foundation’s board of directors challenged staff to think beyond providing fund services and facilitated grantmaking by expanding our mission. Through a strategic planning process, we determined Endeavor should be a long-term advocate for Northwest Arkansas. Many refer to that as “community leadership.” Many in our region of 500,000 believe we’ve already had plenty of good leadership to build on, and we agree.

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