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.

Community Foundations' individual success stories can help to demonstrate the philanthropic sector’s impact as a whole, as well as the specific, innovative, real-life solutions you are using every day. Showcasing these achievements, while highlighting the unique role fulfilled by Community Foundations, is an effective way to demonstrate your impact and advance your mission. These tools can help you tailor your stories to achieve your goals.

Preconference Programming

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In this week's Washington Snapshot:

  • News from the Hill;
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  • Trending in Legal Affairs;
  • Happening in the States;
  • Philanthropy News & Op-Eds.

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Hotel & Travel

All conference sessions and activities will take place at The Washington Hilton unless otherwise noted.

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Building a culture of local involvement

We could all name an instance where an act of goodwill impacted our lives or even changed it. Often these reflections aren’t about giving or receiving a significant sum of money. They involve genuine engagement and empathy, especially in a time of need.

For those who lead community foundations, engaging members of our communities should be equally as important as fundraising.

As autumn begins, the research team at the Council inevitably sees an increase in the number of foundations seeking data on the salaries, benefits, and administrative expenses of their peers.

The Public Policy and Legal Affairs team at the Council diligently follows and consistently engages on regulatory matters that impact the nonprofit and philanthropic sector. See below for comments and letters the Council has submitted on behalf of our members and the field to strengthen philanthropy.

In this week's Washington Snapshot:

  • News from the Hill;
  • Happening in the States;
  • Philanthropy News & Op-Eds.

Read all this and more, online now!