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 Pennsylvania, we’ve recently seen the failure of our state’s political leadership become a threat to many local nonprofits that provide much-needed assistance to our friends and neighbors. The governor and the state Legislature have not yet agreed on a budget, which has frozen funding for nonprofits that depend on those dollars. Some nonprofits are almost entirely dependent on state funding for their operations. Others operate with little or no state funds.

On the Fourth of July, our nation comes together to celebrate the freedoms we enjoy, freedoms our service members, veterans and their families have made possible through their sacrifices.

Just as Americans responded to the call to defend our liberties, our nation must respond to our call to duty – ensuring veterans and their families have a successful transition from service to community.

Together – one nation with one common goal – we must serve those who have served us.

In 2014, the Cleveland Foundation became the first community foundation in the world to turn 100 years old.  After Frederick H. Goff founded Cleveland’s community foundation in 1914, the idea quickly took off across the United States and today there are an estimated 1,800 community foundations worldwide.  This year, six more community foundations are celebrating their centennials with exciting investments in their communities.

Originally featured on the Knight Foundation Blog on July 8, 2015

Interning at the Council on Foundations is giving us a great look at a cross-section of the philanthropic field. The Council’s members, after all, come in all shapes and sizes – large, small, corporate, community foundations, and everything in between. As much as we research them, as much as we hear their names thrown around, the opportunity to actually visit and connect with a member really brought our work into context.

On July 26th, we mark the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA25), which prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation. The impact of the ADA on grant-funded projects in healthcare, education and housing has been significant, as the 57 million Americans with disabilities comprise the nation’s largest minority.

As part of the Council’s global philanthropy program, this members-only conference call on July 1, 2015 provided an overview on policy developments in Mexico that are impacting the flow of U.S. philanthropy into the country. On the call, expert speakers delved into the implications for funders of a new anti-money laundering law, changes to the Mexican tax code, and the consequences of the U.S.-Mexico trade agreement.

My book Charitable Foundations: The Essential Guide to Giving and Compliance was published in May 2015. Since publication, a number of people have asked me what led me to write the book. The Council on Foundations has asked me to address that subject in a blog.