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.

Telephoning a Member of Congress

It's easy to contact your federal legislators by telephone. Call the capitol operator directly at 202/224-3121. Once you are connected to the capitol operator, ask for your senator or representative by name. You will then be connected directly to the member’s office.

Identify yourself as a constituent, and deliver your message. Make sure to leave your name and address to get a response.

In 2008, during the Obama Administration’s transition, Valerie Jarrett, now Senior Advisor to President Obama, was the featured speaker at a Council Policy Forum. She asked foundations to become partners in the social innovation agenda the incoming Administration was committed to incorporate into its policies and programs. The Policy Forum attendees responded positively, and in an effort to provide a coordinated response, the Council organized a formal public-philanthropic partnership initiative.

Since 2009, Blue Shield of California Foundation has supported efforts to prevent violence in the homes of military families. Through investments in research, prevention, advocacy, and cross-sector partnerships, these efforts have already made an impact in California.

From the Lincoln Community Foundation, this report details their veteran support initiative and provides recommendations for future collaborative efforts between community foundations seeking to impact the circumstances of military service members and their families on a regional basis.

From the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Warrior and Family Support, this white paper provides recommendations intended to act as a catalyst for State and Local government, and are provided with the premise that needs and opportunities exist on a continuum.

From the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Warrior and Family Support, this white paper describes a re-integration trinity of education, employment and health care which serve to improve the quality of life for service members and their families.

Why do some veterans have a hard time readjusting to civilian life while others make the transition with little or no difficulty? To answer that question, Pew researchers analyzed the attitudes, experiences and demographic characteristic of veterans to identify the factors that independently predict whether a service member will have an easy or difficult re-entry experience.

From the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Warrior and Family Support, this white paper released at the 2013 Fall Conference for Community Foundations highlights successful examples of partnerships, challenges to public-private partnerships, and a way ahead in supporting our military families.

Current as of June 2014 | Download print version (PDF)

Comments related to any information in this Note should be addressed to Brittany Grabel.

Table of Contents

Current as of January 2014 | Download print version (in PDF)

Comments related to any information in this note should be addressed to Brittany Grabel.

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