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. 

The Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Report (GSB) 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.
Find resources to help your community foundation celebrate Community Foundation Week, held annually between November 12 and 18.
In this week's edition of Snapshot: News from the Council, the Hill, Executive and Regulatory Affairs and Happening in the States.
Join the Council on Foundations and the International Center for Not-for-profit Law (ICNL) as the amendments are discussed and learn from peer funders about how the changes to FCRA will impact your work.
A new law signed on September 28, 2020 will greatly tighten and restrict the existing Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). FCRA is the cornerstone law that regulates how nonprofits in India can receive foreign funding, including from U.S.-based foundations and corporations.
A new report from Council on Foundations, Philanthropy California, and Dalberg Advisors outlines how the US philanthropic sector is responding to the 2020 crises — and the opportunities to shift practices and share power to enable communities and the industry to #BuildBackBetter.
The CCSF report is the field’s most comprehensive and authoritative study on investment and governance policies and practices. The 2019 CCSF studies 265 private and community foundations that represent $104.7 billion in assets.
How can community foundations foster connections between donors and nonprofits advancing equity? Community foundations play a powerful role in connecting high net worth donors with local organizations working to advance community needs. This online learning session for community foundations shares findings from their research and facilitates discussion about how community foundations can foster connections between major donors and local organizations that lead to deeper relationships and increased support for community-based organizations.
In this week's edition of Snapshot: News from the Hill, Executive and Regulatory Affairs and Happening in the States.
A new report from Council on Foundations, Philanthropy California, and Dalberg Advisors outlines how the US philanthropic sector is responding to the 2020 crises — and the opportunities to shift practices and share power to enable communities and the industry to #BuildBackBetter.