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. We highly recommend that you use the navigation or our search feature to find what you're looking for on our site.

In Pennsylvania, we’ve recently seen the failure of our state’s political leadership become a threat to many local nonprofits that provide much-needed assistance to our friends and neighbors. The governor and the state Legislature have not yet agreed on a budget, which has frozen funding for nonprofits that depend on those dollars. Some nonprofits are almost entirely dependent on state funding for their operations. Others operate with little or no state funds.

A well-trained staff and an informed board are critical to the success of community foundations in our fast-changing world. This two-day course helps new and experienced foundation stakeholders build the essential skills they need to balance governance and management.

Created and led by experienced leaders, this course includes:

On the Fourth of July, our nation comes together to celebrate the freedoms we enjoy, freedoms our service members, veterans and their families have made possible through their sacrifices.

Just as Americans responded to the call to defend our liberties, our nation must respond to our call to duty – ensuring veterans and their families have a successful transition from service to community.

Together – one nation with one common goal – we must serve those who have served us.

Stephanie Bell-Rose, Senior Managing Director of the TIAA-CREF Institute, shares the Working Group's vision of the Endowments and Financial Services Summit.

In 2014, the Cleveland Foundation became the first community foundation in the world to turn 100 years old.  After Frederick H. Goff founded Cleveland’s community foundation in 1914, the idea quickly took off across the United States and today there are an estimated 1,800 community foundations worldwide.  This year, six more community foundations are celebrating their centennials with exciting investments in their communities.

Originally featured on the Knight Foundation Blog on July 8, 2015