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.

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.”

In this week's This Week at the Council, you'll find:

  • House Bill is a Big Win for Foundations
  • Community Foundations are "Coming Home"
  • Finalists Announced for 2014 Council Awards Program
  • Take Part in the #CF100 Video Contest
  • Philanthropy and Unaccompanied Children on the US Border
  • And More!

Read it all, available online!

This afternoon, the United States House of Representatives passed an important legislative package impacting philanthropy, the “America Gives More Act of 2014” (H.R. 4719), with a bipartisan super-majority vote of 277-130.

While a sizable number of Democrats voted against the bill because of concerns over how to pay for these provisions, they nonetheless expressed support for the policies advanced by the charitable provisions in the bill.

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.

The Council on Foundations and CF Insights today released Guideposts for Growth and Aspirations,the field’s most comprehensive report on U.S. community foundation assets, gifts, and grants. The data were collected from 285 U.S. community foundations, including those representing more than 90 percent of total estimated community foundation assets in the United States.

When we face a new challenge, one of our first instincts is to reach out to someone for advice. By collaborating, sharing resources, and discussing common challenges, you and your peers multiply your impact and advance the common good.

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