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. 

In this week's edition of Snapshot: News from the Council, News from the Hill, Executive and Regulatory Affairs and Happening in the States.
While 2020 has taught us a great deal, I am confident it has bolstered our commitment to see about change in our communities for the good of all. For this reason, I hope you pause this Thursday, which marks Community Foundation Week, (November 12-18th, 2020), to acknowledge the deep-rooted, influential, and meaningful organization you bring forth to the local community.
Answers to questions about participating in the Ask Me Anything taking place December 7, 2020 from 1-2 p.m. on the Philanthropy Exchange.
This year the Council will host a series of virtual events that will offer members the opportunity to hear directly from Council leaders and peers on some of philanthropy’s most important challenges and opportunities. We hope these free events will provide connection, insight, and inspiration for the future.
The Council on Foundations joins all Americans in expecting a careful accounting of all votes and an expeditious and certain outcome in the 2020 Presidential election. Whatever the result, we are heartened by the historic turnout because a healthy democracy depends on robust participation from citizens.
Two new laws in Nicaragua, The Law for the Regulation of Foreign Agents and The Special Law on Cybercrimes, will fundamentally reshape how foreign funders can support Nicaraguan nonprofits and how civic space is regulated in the country.
Do you have a question about the strategic direction of the Council? Curious how the team is managing in uncertain times? Or just want to get to know the team better? This is the time to ask us anything.
End the week with an hour of wellness and networking. The wellness activity will be a resiliency themed meditation led by our partners at Chill Anywhere. Following the meditation, we will play a fun game of trivia and host networking breakout rooms to connect members across interest, roles, and opportunities. This will be a fun and casual event for all staff members!
Sponsors for the 2020 Public Policy Summit.
Earlier this year, the Council on Foundations issued a COVID-19 Call to Action to its community of domestic and international funders, asking foundations to provide unrestricted funding to grantee organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic. This call to action prompted a timely discussion with several of Give2Asia’s funding partners about the trade-offs of offering unrestricted funding generally. We continue to welcome these conversations and encourage funders and other intermediaries to consider whether general support grantmaking needs renewed focus as a best practice.