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.

The Council on Foundations today announced the release of the 2014 Grantmakers Salary and Benefits Report, the most comprehensive information available on staff composition and compensation for U.S. foundations and corporate giving programs. Salary information is provided for 35 executive, professional and administrative positions, and the report allows grantmakers to compare compensation to that of their peers by foundation type, asset size, and region.

This legislation includes several important provisions that will help charitable and philanthropic organizations serving communities in every Congressional District across the country. Specifically, H.R. 644 would permanently enact three temporary and currently expired giving incentives – the IRA charitable rollover and enhanced incentives for the donations of food inventory and land conservation easements. The measure also simplifies the excise tax rate on private foundation investment income.

The Council on Foundations offices will be closed from December 25, 2014 - January 2, 2015. During this time, Council staff is available to assist our members with their time-sensitive needs. Please call our main number at 703-879-0600 and select "Membership" or e-mail us at

This afternoon, the United States House of Representatives failed to advance the Supporting America's Charities Act (H.R. 5806), a milestone bill that would have widely benefited philanthropy and charitable organizations across the country. The vote broke down along party lines, with 275 Members voting for the bill and 149 Democrats voting "no" on the grounds that the provisions are not offset with spending cuts elsewhere.

Joining Forces Impact Pledge organizers announced five new pledges to the Philanthropy Joining Forces Impact Pledge at an event at Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum last week. With the new commitments, a total of 35 participants have pledged more than $200 million over the next five years to support veterans and their families as they transition back into civilian life. The Blue Shield of California Foundation, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, Robert R. McCormick Foundation, and Bob Woodruff Foundation hosted the event in conjunction with the White House Joining Forces initiative.

HUD No. 14-128
Brian Sullivan

William S. White with Council President and CEO Vikki Spruill after accepting his honor.

The Centennial – A Year of Action In Support of Community Philanthropy

The Council is aware that an individual healthcare worker, who has since tested positive for Ebola, recently travelled from the Cleveland airport. To date, there are no confirmed cases of Ebola in Ohio.

The Council is closely monitoring the information provided by the Cleveland Department of Health, the Ohio Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In an abundance of caution, the Council has reached out to local health officials and conference venues.

The Council on Foundations today announced the release of its 2014 Grantmakers Salary Tables and Board Compensation Tables. Both publications include data collected through the Council’s annual Grantmakers Salary and Benefits survey, and represent two of the most comprehensive sets of data on U.S. foundations’ staff compensation and board compensation practices available.