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. We highly recommend that you use the navigation or our search feature to find what you're looking for on our site.

I recently had the opportunity to interview Emily Kessler, the interim director of Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy. In this interview, Emily shares how she got her start in philanthropy and what she is hoping to do to help emerging professionals and increase the value of an EPIP membership.

Last week, the Milstein Commission, a national initiative co-chaired by Steve Case and Carly Fiorina, released a report, Can Startups Save the American Dream? The report  highlighted over how the past quarter-century, startups and small businesses accounted for 65% of net job creation, yet today, job creation among startups is at its lowest point since 1980.

As my boss and Blackbaud CEO Mike Gianoni noted, “#GivingTuesday has gone from a simple idea to become a genuine global phenomenon.” The unofficial start to the end-of-year giving season once again kicked off this #GivingTuesday, December 2nd 2014, and with #UNselfies shared and charitable gifts made, giving is in full-swing.

The Council on Foundations offices will be closed from December 25, 2014 - January 2, 2015. During this time, Council staff is available to assist our members with their time-sensitive needs. Please call our main number at 703-879-0600 and select "Membership" or e-mail us at

An article recently published in Research & Development shared how  researchers are using social media to draw attention to their research.  Discussing their work with reporters and sharing on social media seemed to increase the likelihood that one’s research is cited, thereby increasing their work’s impact.  With that being said, how is your organization drumming up interest with social media?  Are you using it simply as an awareness tool or are you active

This afternoon, the United States House of Representatives failed to advance the Supporting America's Charities Act (H.R. 5806), a milestone bill that would have widely benefited philanthropy and charitable organizations across the country. The vote broke down along party lines, with 275 Members voting for the bill and 149 Democrats voting "no" on the grounds that the provisions are not offset with spending cuts elsewhere.

Joining Forces Impact Pledge organizers announced five new pledges to the Philanthropy Joining Forces Impact Pledge at an event at Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum last week. With the new commitments, a total of 35 participants have pledged more than $200 million over the next five years to support veterans and their families as they transition back into civilian life. The Blue Shield of California Foundation, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, Robert R. McCormick Foundation, and Bob Woodruff Foundation hosted the event in conjunction with the White House Joining Forces initiative.