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.

This webinar show how 10 states are implementing a web-based platform to help foundations and other community organizations respond effectively to civic challenges.

The Urban Institute's system includes tools community foundations can use to:

This webinar addresses the core question: How can emerging community foundations staff at small scale for big results? It presents principles employed by a group of small, growing community foundations in California, and illustrates the priorities and personalities that were drivers of specific staffing approaches.

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During this webinar, participants will learn how to garner timely responses from their members of Congress using the Internet and social media.

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An engaged board is critical for a community foundation to achieve its greatest level of impact. But how can an emerging community foundation encourage board members to be fully engaged in helping the organization grow and fulfill its mission? This paper, developed by FSG, addresses this important question and presents a summary of roles and techniques for involving board members, as well as testimonials and tools drawn from the experience of a group of small, growing community foundations in California.

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This webinar, the last in a three-part series on impact investing, shares program designs and lessons from The Greater Cincinnati Foundation and others that have established donor-advised funds and leveraged endowment assets.

Featured Speakers:

  • Kathryn Merchant, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation
  • Taylor Jordan, Imprint Capital

To replay the presentation, you will first need to download the webinar player.

When done well, community leadership can provide enormous benefit for both a community foundation and the community it serves. During this webinar, you will hear how emerging community foundations define their leadership opportunities.

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Is your foundation using best practices for internal processes? Hear how the Archstone Foundation addressed the various needs of a multigenerational workforce that values its employees and offers incentives to increase motivation, productivity, and employee satisfaction. You will also learn how The Irvine Foundation reviewed its 10-year-old, paper-intensive grant process and developed a more streamlined, technology-driven approach while providing more readily available information to program staff and key executives.

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In this age of austerity, it is more important than ever to ask and answer how foundations' decisions impact the fields they work in. Join foundation grantmakers for this two-part webinar as they share lessons learned from grantee budget reductions and business model changes.

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Special thanks to Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for sponsoring this webinar.
Representatives from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation discuss how their foundation became a Web 2.0 philanthropy and the effects it had on their employees, grantees, and programming.

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This valuable resource guides foundations interested in becoming part of the national policy conversation and educating legislators about their impact in society. It offers advice on scheduling a meeting with a member of Congress; format options for those meetings; sample letter, fax, and e-mail formats; and more.

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