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.

One of the most pressing topics for community foundations is the reinvention of their position as catalysts for change.  Foundations are increasingly taking on new, proactive roles within their communities, capitalizing on their ability to lead and advocate.  They are independent and unencumbered by political affiliation or private interests.  They are uniquely positioned to take the long view on communities’ growth and progress.  As community foundations delve into these new roles, it is important that we take stock of where we are and use data and community input as the base on which to d

The shootings in Newtown, prison overcrowding, disproportionate minority confinement and Attorney General Holder’s recent advocacy for increased judicial discretion for “low level” offenders have placed increased pressure on community foundations to respond to new community and policy realities.

In this issue: Tax Reform, IRS Scrutiny, the Max and Dave Road Show, Great Op-eds that caught our attention, Agriculture and Housing Agencies Collaborating With Foundations

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In this issue: Tax Reform, IRS Scrutiny, More Great Op-Eds Supporting the Charitable Deduction, Over at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

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In this issue: Baucus and Hatch Call for "Blank Slate" in Tax Reform, More on Tax Reform, Charitable Deduction, IRS Scrutiny, and Giving USA 2013

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In this issue: Giving USA Report Released, Senate Finance Committee Releases White Paper on Tax-Exempt Organizations and Charitable Giving, Baucus and Camp Plan Summer Tax Reform Road Show, Continued IRS Scrutiny

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Foundation CEOs and trustees share insights and personal stories related to significant paths of change and how they overcame setbacks. Download a copy and gain best practices to help you successfully lead your foundation, boards and staff.

20 pages

The Principles were created by representatives of more than 40 charitable sector organizations including the Council on Foundations (the working group coordinator), Independent Sector, InterAction and Grantmakers Without Borders, as an alternative to the U.S. Treasury Department's Voluntary Anti-Terrorist Guidelines.

2005, 14 pages

This report presents 2011 salaries and compensation trends over a wide range of positions and grantmaking entities—community, private (family and independent) and public foundations and corporate grantmakers. Based on actual salaries, the report covers 34 positions and provides mean, median, range, 25th, and 75th percentile figures. In addition to analyzing salaries and compensation trends, the full 2011 Grantmakers Salary and Benefits Report includes data on staff demographics, salary administration, and benefits.

2011, 88 pages

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