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.

From GEO, what does it mean to truly and authentically engage a community in evaluation? Grantmakers working on place-based grantmaking already have the incentive and drive to support in-depth evaluation to understand the impact of the initiative and to identify opportunities to improve their work. Effective evaluation of these complex and multi-facetted efforts is grounded in the perspectives of community stakeholders.

From GEO, collective action is an effective way for nonprofits to increase their impact, but they often lack the key capacities that enable these types of partnerships to thrive. This publication offers insights on the core capacities nonprofits need to collaborate and how funders can help.

From PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, these publications and resources cover issues surrounding investments other than stocks, bonds and cash.

Visibility is vital to community foundations as they seek to gain credibility and attract new resources. But how can younger and smaller community foundations best use their limited marketing budgets? What audiences should they target first? How important is broad public awareness — and how much investment does it merit? This paper, written by Williams Group, addresses these questions and offers a tested model along with relevant examples and worksheets to help any community foundation create and manage its marketing program.

A national match day initiative designed to increase awareness of community foundations and the important work we do to support change in our communities. The initiative builds on the successful match day concept that many community foundations are already utilizing, augmenting these efforts with a national pool of matching funds and public relations and marketing campaigns. This is a unique opportunity for the field to work together to elevate community philanthropy in the national media.

The interactive Field Guide takes community foundations through three main stages of the impact investing journey: Learn, Design, and Activate. At each stage, visitors can click on various topics within that stage to learn more about what the topic entails and how other community foundations have approached place-based investing.

A collection of all impact investing publications from Mercer.

From Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, this handbook on responsible investing provides the blueprint for foundation asset managers interested in multiplying their organization’s impact on society through options that link mission with investments that create long-term value to society.

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