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.

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.

Featured Speakers and Commentators:

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.

Featured Speakers:

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.

Featured Speakers:

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.

Featured Speakers:

Why should my community foundation care about public policy?

Community foundations have a unique philanthropic voice in to bring to policymakers in Washington D.C. You are fully integrated into the lifeblood of your communities, and are intimately familiar with the urgent needs of those you serve. This grassroots experience is invaluable, and it is essential that lawmakers hear your perspective so that the decisions they make reflect the needs of real communities across America.

With competition from other charitable options and heightened scrutiny of charities in the media, National Standards set our field—and your community foundation—apart and underscore your commitment to integrity, effectiveness and transparency.

Gifts to community foundations have long been used as planning tools by individuals with philanthropic goals. Apart from qualifying for the maximum income tax deduction and the estate tax deduction, the community foundation is a vehicle that provides donors a variety of opportunities for fulfilling their philanthropic objectives. Among the most critical outcomes in community foundation success is ensuring that legal processes, including compliance with the tax code, are adhered to.

As the Council on Foundations observes Community Foundation Week, this November 12-18, we will be posting stories from across the country of members who exemplify the ability of place-based philanthropy to drive innovation and strategy. If you would like your organization featured here, contact john.cochrane@cof.org.

As the Council on Foundations observes Community Foundation Week, this November 12-18, we will be posting stories from across the country of members who exemplify the ability of place-based philanthropy to drive innovation and strategy. If you would like your organization featured here, contact john.cochrane@cof.org.

As the Council on Foundations observes Community Foundation Week, this November 12-18, we will be posting stories from across the country of members who exemplify the ability of place-based philanthropy to drive innovation and strategy. If you would like your organization featured here, contact john.cochrane@cof.org.

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