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.

by PJ Watters

As a community foundation, we are always talking about our role connecting "people who care" with "causes that matter." When we award grants from our funds, people don't usually know who's behind the fund name-and they should! It's time we tell our fund founders' stories. So we created some public service announcements to bring donors' passions to the forefront.

by Emily Jones Rushing

So how did you find out about community foundations? For many generous people, the answer is: their lawyer, their accountant, their financial adviser, the key professional they trust to help them make a difference with their charitable dollars.

by Carl Little

Last week was a quiet one at the Maine Community Foundation — not! Between debriefing about the annual Inspiring Philanthropy evening and preparing for the upcoming Feed a Family campaign, we barely had time to celebrate Community Foundation Week.

by Linda Reed

My trip last week to Washington, D.C., was easy and productive thanks to the Council's great government relations team. I wanted to meet with members and staff of Montana's congressional delegation to brief them on our transfer of wealth study and some new information we have about population changes in our state. All of that information supports the case for maintaining some form of deductibility for contributions; the notion of capping them at 28percent continues to be a part of the deficit reduction work.

by Erin Rowley

There are a lot of things to love about Centre County, Pa. Beautiful natural features. Ample opportunities to socialize. An open and accepting attitude among residents.

And according to the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, qualities like that create a sense of attachment that inspire Centre County residents.

by Astrid "Oz" Spies

In mid-2008, The Denver Foundation started to receive calls from food pantries, reporting that demand was up 20, 30, even 40 percent.

by Brenda Chumley

On behalf of the entire team at the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, I'd like to wish everyone a happy Community Foundation Week! We're pleased to celebrate by sharing how we work with other community foundations across the country.

by Candace Winkler

Alaska Community Foundation (ACF) is a part of a much larger movement that is nearing the end of its first century of existence. As we compare ourselves with older community foundations across the nation, we realize the magnitude of the work we are doing — and the work that's ahead of us. Established 16 years ago, the Alaska Community Foundation works to grow philanthropy and build community in an effort to improve the quality of life here, now and forever. In our large state, that can be a daunting task.

by Carol Thompson Cole

In this day of 24-7 media, information flows nonstop and infinite reams of data can be crunched in seconds. Yet I am sometimes shocked by how very little we know, even about what’s going on in our own neighborhoods. Information is power, and while research and data might not seem like the most exciting projects to fund at the outset, the results can be turned into knowledge to catalyze action, collaboration, policy change, and movements.


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