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 for currated community foundation content. 

Community foundations often feel like waiving administrative fees is the right thing to do during a disaster or crisis. Or you may feel your community expects you to waive such fees. And yet waiving administrative fees is almost always a bad business decision. This is especially true when a global pandemic is causing uncertainty about the value of your assets as well as future fundraising prospects.
As organizations continue COVID-19 response efforts, HR leaders in philanthropy are thoughtfully introducing innovative practices about returning to work, while coping with new and complex challenges. Join the Council and CHANGE Philanthropy for a facilitated, small-group dialogue to explore the implications of a returning workforce to the office.
COVID-19 has revealed the inadequacies of many foundation and nonprofit virtual strategies. Having an up-to-date cybersecurity strategy is key to ensuring your foundation’s ability to respond to this ongoing crisis while enabling and empowering your nonprofit partners' to accomplish their missions.
In this week's edition of snapshot: Happening on the Hill, Executive & Regulatory Affairs, and Happening in the States.
This is a summary of the fourth 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.
Responding to your community’s needs during the COVID-19 pandemic is complicated. How you can combat the outbreak and its deepening impact on public health and the economy will differ from place to place. However, effective practices are emerging among community foundations that are applicable and adaptable to many different regions. Here are some tips and resources from the Council’s team and from community foundations around the country to help you respond in your community.
Here's how, in this new reality caused by the coronovirus pandemic, community foundations can play a vital role in supporting both individuals and small businesses.
You may wonder whether you can make grants to GoFundMe campaigns that are supporting localized efforts during disasters. Proceed cautiously: GoFundMe and many similar crowdfunding platforms are not registered 501(c)3 public charities, and therefore you need to examine carefully whether the campaigns hosted on these sites are charitable in nature.
Recording of the members only Q&A discussion that addresses emerging legal questions due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In this week's edition of snapshot: Council News, Happening on the Hill, Executive & Regulatory Affairs, and Happening in the States.