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. 

This peer-to-peer conversation will be a forum to explore the HR, culture and talent implications of COVID-19, in a facilitated dialogue with a small group of 25-30 HR leaders in philanthropy.
This call will offer a status update on the 2020 Census, which began in earnest mid-March, just as COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic.
Council on Foundations and re-constituted affinity group, CEONet, invite CEOs and Executive Directors of community foundations to join a virtual roundtable in support of the continued efforts by the field to respond and adapt to the challenges of COVID-19.
Frequently asked questions about the Paycheck Protection Program.
Recording of webinar covering how community private and family foundations can make grants to individuals and businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.
Recording of webinar covering how community foundations can launch local response funds, shift to immediate operational and unrestricted grants, and seek best practices to meet the current and emerging needs of their communities.
This week Council releases new resources for grantmakers, News from the Hill, Updates from the Executive Branch, and Happening in the States.
This is a summary of the third bill Congress passed to help with the effects of the coronavirus outbreak. This guide highlights the specific provisions of that bill that may impact the charitable sector.
his is a summary of the second bill Congress passed to help with the effects of the coronavirus outbreak. This guide highlights the specific provisions of that bill that may impact the charitable sector.
This is a summary of the first bill Congress passed to help with the effects of the coronavirus outbreak. This guide highlights the specific provisions of that bill that may impact the charitable sector.