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 partnership with the Center for Disaster Philanthropy and Candid, the Council on Foundations are pleased to present a webinar to highlight the key learnings and provide recommendations for funders as the world continues to struggle with the impact of COVID-19.
Led by the Council's legal team this workshop is designed to answer your broad legal and practical questions on administering funds, grants, and community foundation activities.
Updated information about the impact of 2022 New Mexico Wildfires and resources for foundations.
Join the Council’s Capitol Hill consultants Ken Kies, Managing Director, Federal Policy Group and Arshi Siddiqui, Partner, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP for an update on what is happening on Capitol Hill!
Council members are invited to join informal roundtable discussions with several federal agencies to learn more about their implementation of the American Rescue Plan and other priorities, including the cross-government equity action plans.
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.
Join us for the Council on Foundations’ 2022 Public Policy Summit – where we will come together as a virtual community to explore philanthropy’s role as a bridge-builder.
The 2022 Virtual HR Retreat, co-hosted by the Council on Foundations and CHANGE Philanthropy, is a unique opportunity to learn from and engage with fellow HR and talent leaders in philanthropy.
Philanthropy has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years in terms of the sources of wealth underlying charitable gifts, the allocation of resources, and its decision-making processes. More than ever, those engaged in philanthropy need an ethical orientation to inform their work.
Thank you for the opportunity to provide written testimony for the record on the subject of “Enhancing the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938.” We commend the committee for holding a hearing on this important topic as nonprofit organizations continue to respond to global crises and seek clarity on the laws that govern international philanthropic flows.