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 Orcas Island Community Foundation (OICF) is a small but mighty foundation. In 2011, with assets of $4 million spread across 70+ funds, we had outgrown our ‘off the shelf’ bookkeeping software, spending over half of our precious staff time on accounting. We struggled with finding right sized technology. Like Goldilocks, the existing programs just did not fit, being too cumbersome, too complicated, and far too expensive. Not a recipe for growth.

On April 25, 2015 a 7.8 magnitude earthquake occurred in Nepal, in an area between the capitol city of Kathmandu and the city of Pokhara, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Tremors and aftershocks were felt across the region in India, Bangladesh, Tibet and on Mount Everest. As the world has watched the devastation unfold, the question “what should I do?” has been repeated.

Civil Society in America faces the challenge of storytelling. Democracy thrives on the free availability of information and viewpoints. We must guard against hegemony that stifles innovation and protect voices of the marginalized. To do so, we should ensure that everyone's story is told.

Join Council staff members, Kim Bluitt, Member Relations Director, Pacific, and your peers in the Southern California area for peer networking and conversation on the benefits of Council membership. The Council provides an array of services to assist foundation members. We are constantly seeking member feedback to improve our services and develop new ones to continue providing you with the most relevant and timely resources.  

A few weeks ago, we were happy to join several hundred of our colleagues in San Francisco for Hispanics in Philanthropy’s (HIP) 2015 Conference and HIPGiver Gala. The daylong series of events focused on Latino leadership in the philanthropic sector, as well as exploring the needs and opportunities for investing in the Latino community. 

Tiziana Dearing is the former CEO of Boston Rising, a place-based, anti-poverty, public foundation that aimed to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty by replicating the Robin Hood Foundationand Harlem Children Zone’s models in Grove Hall, a Boston neighborhood inundated with poverty and crime.

Over three years, Boston Rising invested $4 Million in residents, promising entrepreneurs and under performing schools, then -- it dissolved.

Participants Will Learn

Where you live shouldn’t determine how far you can go in life.

The topic of regulatory frameworks that govern global grantmaking consistently arises as a priority for Council members. This webinar will discuss a range of issues, touching on both global and domestic policies that impact your work. For example, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global regulatory body that sets international recommendations for policies that affect the flow of cross-border philanthropic investments, will update its recommendations in 2015. The U.S.