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.

In this week's edition of Washington Snapshot:
  • Council to Senate: Preserve & Expand IRA Rollover
  • More on the Tax Reform Act of 2014
  • Property Tax Proposal in Connecticut
  • California Senate Votes "No" on Political Activity Bill
  • New Papers on the Future of State Charities Regulation
  • Philanthropy Op-Ed

In this week's snapshot, you'll read about:

  • Camp Bill Sets Critical Precedents
  • 501(c)(4) Rules Elicit Strong Public Response
  • Philanthropy Week in Washington Recap
  • Other News in Philanthropy

Read the full issue now!

Your giving program looks like a convenient vehicle for fulfilling personal charitable pledges. Here’s what you need to know about when to say “no.”

In this issue:

  • Philanthropy Leaders Converge on D.C. for Philanthropy Week
  • President Obama Releases FY 2015 Budget
  • Chairman Camp's Tax Reform Bill
  • Lois Lerner Pleads the Fifth, Havoc Erupts
  • Social Impact Bonds Issue Briefs

Read this issue!

Working in collaboration with the Center for American Progress, the Council co-hosted conversations among foundations, community development financial institutions, and investment firms about social impact bonds and Pay for Success. Out of these conversations, two issue briefs were created:

In this issue:

  • Chairman Camp Releases Tax Reform Proposal
  • Philanthropy Week Update
  • Council Submits Comments on Proposed 501(c)(4) Regulations
  • President highlights foundations' investments in My Brother's Keeper initiative announcement
  • State Activity

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The Community Foundations of Canada’s Vital Signs is an annual community check-up, conducted by community foundations across Canada – and now around the world – that uses data to measure the vitality of our communities.

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