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.

With the giving season in full swing, I was inspired to see community foundations embrace the global #GivingTuesday movement.

CFE Fundamentals logoA 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 community foundation staff build the essential skills they need to balance governance and management.

Created and led by experienced leaders, this course includes:

Led by Suzanne Friday, Counsel for the Council on Foundations and Brad Ward, Director of Community Philanthropy, this workshop is flexibly organized to ensure that your broad legal questions for administering funds, grants, and community foundation activities are addressed.

Led by Suzanne Friday, Counsel for the Council on Foundations and Brad Ward, Director of Community Philanthropy, this workshop is flexibly organized to ensure that your broad legal questions for administering funds, grants, and community foundation activities are addressed.

Led by Suzanne Friday, Counsel for the Council on Foundations and Brad Ward, Director of Community Philanthropy, this workshop is flexibly organized to ensure that your broad legal questions for administering funds, grants, and community foundation activities are addressed.

This report from Singapore Management University examines the public policies influencing charitable descision making in Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

This report from Alliance magazine, WINGS, the Centre for Social Impact Philanthropy, and Ashoka University presents the culture and trends of philanthropy in India and the role of foundations in managing charitable giving.