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 Council on Foundations is helping to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the world’s first community foundation, The Cleveland Foundation, by highlighting stories that show how community foundations are addressing critical local and regional issues. Through outreach and special initiatives, we hope to provide opportunities that help our members build their capacity and share their impact.

At the White House last week, foundation executives, including the Council’s President and CEO Vikki Spruill, met with senior Administration officials for a roundtable on the future of impact investing. A complement to charitable giving and foundation grantmaking, impact investing offers a powerful opportunity to provide cash, loans, or equity capital to an organization, fund, or company that intends to generate measurable social or environmental impacts, alongside financial returns.

In this issue of Washington Snapshot:

When Jessica David was wondering how to support her new hire, who was tasked with telling her foundation’s story online, she turned to her peers for advice.

With partnerships being very important in making the most of innovative ideas, how does one develop an authentic partnership? In a recent situation, I developed a partnership with several individuals to implement an idea at a large conference. Here are the lessons I learned:

The Community Foundations National Standards Board has elected Randy Royster, President and CEO of the Albuquerque Community Foundation, as its new President. Royster will succeed Hugh Ralston in the leadership position. The Board oversees the management and administration of the National Standards for US Community Foundations™ (National Standards) program.

In this issue of Washington Snapshot:

  • Senate Tax Reform Hearings
  • Lost Lois Lerner E-mails
  • Social Impact Bond Act Introduced in House
  • NOTICE Act Introduced in Senate
  • Political Activity Rules Could be Expanded, Commissioner Says
  • 2013 Giving USA Numbers Released
  • Form 990 Data Availability
  • Can Philanthropy "Fix" Democracy?

Read it online now!

How can we engage older residents while tapping their expertise? In 2006, The New York Community Trust responded to an invitation from Atlantic Philanthropies offering challenge to get people over 60 involved as they improve life for everyone in their communities. Atlantic’s effort, called the Community Experience Partnership, used this tagline: “in the 60s they changed the world, in their 60s they might do it again.”

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