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, more than 570 belong to 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. 

Current as of September 2019 | Download print version (PDF)

This describes the legal framework of nonprofit organizations (also known as non-governmental organizations or NGOs) in Ethiopia, along with translations of legislative provisions relevant for a foundation or advisor undertaking an equivalency determination of a foreign grantee under IRS Revenue Procedure 92-94.

In 2018, the Council on Foundations introduced a series of summits on inclusive economic prosperity. These summits were designed to help foundation leaders better understand the leading role that philanthropy can play in developing inclusive economic prosperity outcomes in local economies.

This report provides salary, benefits, and diversity data for full-time staff at U.S. foundations to aid in budget planning and personnel practice benchmarking. Information is presented by grantmaker type, foundation type, asset size, and geographic location.

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Celebrating National Community Foundation Week
November 12-18: Engage with Your Local Community Today!

Members, View the Recording

The Council launched a new approach to membership to better reflect the diversity of the field, but what does that mean for you? Join this members-only conference call to hear more about the model, understand the new renewal process and get your questions answered by Council staff.

#COMMUNITYFNDWEEK

Community Foundation Week, created in 1989 by former president George H.W. Bush, recognizes the important work of community foundations throughout America and their collaborative and innovative approach to working with the public, private, and nonprofit sector.

Annually, Community Foundation Week coincides with National Philanthropy Day on November 15. Help raise awareness by telling your community about the work that your foundation is doing to address persistent civic and economic challenges.

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors' guide for philanthropy on aligning with the SDGs.

Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors' guide for philanthropy to get started with the SDGs.