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.

The 2013 Grantmakers Salary Tables provide aggregate information on U.S. foundation and corporate giving program staff salaries and benefits. Free to participants and Council members and $159 for nonmembers, the tables compile data on more than 8,000 full-time employees from across the country. Mean, median, range, 25th, and 75th percentiles are provided.

In this issue:

  • Council letter featured in The New York Times
  • Council Announces Philanthropy Week in Washington
  • Budget agreement passed
  • Tax Policy Happenings
  • Thune-Wyden Letter on the Charitable Deduction

Read this issue.

In this issue:

  • Council President Responds to Critical New York Times Op-Ed
  • Senate Democrats host Council President for Conversation
  • Thune-Wyden Letter on the Charitable Deduction
  • Budget Agreement Reached
  • Tax Policy Happenings
  • IRS Nominee Promises to Investigate Nonprofit Fraud
  • Trending Critique of Nonprofits and Philanthropy

Read this issue.

On November 20, in conjunction with the Charitable Giving Coalition’sProtect Giving Day,” Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) issued a letter in full support of the charitable deduction. This letter is a perfect example of the growing bipartisan support for preserving the full value of the charitable deduction.

The report explores the ways in which infrastructure organizations think about the value and the mechanics of collaboration—the drivers and barriers to collaborative work—and to determine ways to encourage more effective partnerships. The publication features a framework for understanding different types of collaboration, a set of recommendations for better collaboration, and a series of case studies that show a range of partnerships that tease out the potential benefits and challenges of various kinds of collaboration.

Closing a nonprofit charitable institution presents a range of unknowns to the grantmaking community. In this analysis, authors John Dickason and Duncan Neuhauser provide guidance to foundations considering whether to create a time-limited foundation or bring a foundation to an end. Topics include managing finances, grants, human and physical resources, archives, history and records.

Understanding the challenges of currency fluctuations on international grantmaking, and taking action to minimize their impact can ensure that this natural process does not become an added barrier to overseas giving. This resource focuses on some of the challenges foundations and giving programs and their grantees face as a result of fluctuating currency exchange rates, and highlights various ways that U.S. grantmakers are dealing with them in their international grantmaking activities.

The Council on Foundations’ Foundation Management Series provides foundation boards and staff with the tools needed to benchmark their practices and operations against peers in the field. Containing data from the Council’s 2009 Foundation Management survey, the series consists of three reports: Board Composition and Compensation, Administrative and Investment Expenses, and Fiscal Oversight.

The Council conducted the foundation management survey in March 2010 in cooperation with the Foundation Center. Respondents were asked to provide information on their boards' demographics, compensation and reimbursement practices, liability insurance, ethics policies, and information on their foundations' administrative expenses and fiscal oversight. All reports in the series provide detailed breakdowns of survey data by foundation type and asset size.

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