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 Washington Snapshot: 

“You can do a lot with $1.” A simple but powerful phrase at the heart of GiVE 365, the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis’ dollar-a-day giving circle. Formed in 2010, GiVE 365 unites and informs emerging philanthropists to make a collective impact on Greater Memphis. Members donate $365 a year, pool their money with others, and vote on both an annual grant making theme and grant recipients.

Austin, Texas, is the top spot to be an entrepreneur, make movies, get fit, have a dog, and eat barbeque—but as recently as a decade ago we ranked near the bottom of per capita giving. While other Texas cities, like Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio, have a long history of philanthropy, ours was principally a university town and state capital. That is, until the 1990s when the limestone outcroppings west of downtown sprouted glass office buildings and became the “Silicon Hills.”

This week's Washington Snapshot came out a day early because the news was just too exciting to wait! In it you'll read about:

In conjunction with our 90th Anniversary, the Connecticut Community Foundation hosted our first online giving challenge, Give Local Greater Waterbury and Litchfield Hills in November 2013.

In this week's Washington Snapshot:

For nearly 100 years, the California Community Foundation (CCF) has been defined by the diverse passions of the more than 1,700 donors who share a dream for a better future. CCF’s initiative, Building a Lifetime of Options & Opportunities for Men (BLOOM), exemplifies this passion by addressing some of L.A. County’s toughest challenges by bringing community and financial resources to the table to create possible solutions.

Many community foundations are recognizing that impact investing can be a powerful tool in our philanthropic toolbox. Mission investments are investments made by foundations to further their philanthropic goals. Since 2009, the Seattle Foundation has committed $4 million of its unrestricted endowment assets to extend access to capital and expand economic opportunities for low income communities in our county.

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