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.

Roles of Community Foundations

Sharing Community Information (February)

Aligning Social Action (March)

The Community Foundations National Standards Board (CFNSB) today announces the field comment period for the December 2013 Proposed Revised National Standards. These revisions are being made as part of a five-year review cycle, and will be open to comment from January 15 to February 15, 2014.

The Council on Foundations is pleased to announce…

Websites are live, registration is now open, and the hotel block is available for Philanthropy Week in Washington 2014!

Now, more than ever, we must protect and enhance philanthropy in America. Philanthropy has been a pillar of our society from the time of our founders. Let’s continue to educate federal lawmakers on the imperative role of philanthropy before proposals that could alter tax policy and uproot the sector’s ability to advance the public good take hold.

We are pleased to partner with the Cleveland Foundation to promote a groundbreaking international project that will inform community philanthropy around the globe. The Community Foundation Atlas will be unveiled at our Centennial Year, Fall Conference for Community Foundations next October 20-22 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Council on Foundations president and CEO Vikki Spruill and several Council members met with Congressional leaders today to deliver the important message that changes to the charitable tax deduction would diminish its value and have an undeniably negative impact on communities across the United States. Reductions in the charitable tax deduction would result in diminished support for health and human services, fewer nonprofit jobs, a reduction in research and development capacity, less educational opportunity, cuts to art funding, and decreases in economic development.  

The Council on Foundations today announced the first members of its network team, which will facilitate the flow of information and ideas across the philanthropic sector. The network team will connect members around common issues of concern, connect our members to outside resources across sectors, and —if necessary— build new products and services.

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