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 2017, they gave an estimated $5.48 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. Currently, over 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, approximately 300 are members of the Council on Foundations. The community foundation model also has taken hold around the world. Community foundations have participated in the growth of international giving by U.S. foundations in recent years, with international giving by community foundations more than tripling, from $103 million in 2011 to $315 million in 2015, and community foundations' share of overall international giving by U.S. foundations more than doubling, from 1.4 percent in 2011 to 3.4 percent in 2015.

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. Please also visit cof.org/community-foundations for currated community foundation content. 

These are the sessions during Leading Together 2021 for us to come together as one to enhance our thinking, learn a new perspective, and get inspired for the work ahead.
Webinar recording from April 27, 2021, Policy Update about the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and the key pillars of the new infrastructure proposals, the American Jobs Plan, announced by President Biden on March 31.
Racism is ever-present in our society, but for those who are not Black, Indigenous, or People of Color (BIPOC), it is sometimes easy to brush it aside. However, disasters lay bare the inequities that exist in societies around the world.
Thank you for letting us know you are unable to attend. Once you submit this form, we will no longer email you regarding Leading Together 2021. We hope to see you at the next Leading Together.
Learn about planned concurrent sessions for Leading Together 2021.
These Leading Together 2021 sessions will focus on sharing the best practices, resources, and tools for philanthropic leaders to be agents of change in their organizations and communities.
These Leading Together 2021 sessions will feature diverse voices on issues such as inclusive economic prosperity, racial injustice, income equality and values aligned philanthropy.
These Leading Together 2021 sessions will spark conversations that challenge philanthropy to bridge divides, explore unlikely partnerships and engage with different points of view.
Developed out of a trending conversation on the Philanthropy Exchange (PhilEx), the Council invites you to join a peer-led discussion around accepting cryptocurrency gifts.
Despite having millions of households considered “hard-to-count”, and challenged by a global pandemic, California successfully implemented Census outreach in 2020, generating a 69.6% response rate, higher than the response rate nationally. In this session, foundation, advocacy, and government voices detail how their partnership supported this success, and what they did – and what you can do – to build and strengthen multiracial democracy.