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 Community Foundations National Standards Board (CFNSB) announces an extension to the public comment period for the Proposed Revised National Standards. These revisions are being made as part of a five-year review cycle and will remain open to public comment until February 26, 2014.

In this week's This Week at the Council, you'll read:

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Call for Sessions

Be a part of the 2014 Annual Conference: Philanthropy Exchange!

The Council is issuing a Call for Sessions to leading civil and social innovators. We are looking to you for well-developed sessions that offer diverse perspectives, concrete solutions, and fresh insights into our Spotlight Issue: The Role of Philanthropy in an Increasingly Polarized Society

In this issue:

  • Registration is Open for 2014 Annual Conference: Philanthropy Exchange
  • #CF100
  • Second Philanthropy Week Webinar Announced
  • The Council visits the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI

Read the entire issue.

Get Prepared for Philanthropy Week in Washington
Wednesday February 19th from 3-4pm EST

As Philanthropy Week quickly approaches we are excited to offer a webinar geared at getting you up-to-speed on the latest happenings in Washington!

Roles of Community Foundations

Sharing Community Information (February)

Aligning Social Action (March)

Based on interviews with more than 150 community foundations, the Monitor Institute team developed this list of generic roles community philanthropy organizations play in their communities through their What's Next for Community Philanthropy initiative.

Starting in February, the Council will feature community foundations and stories that exemplify these roles as part of the Community Foundation Centennial initiative.

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