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. 

Updated information about the impact of severe storms during Spring 2020 and resources for foundations.
Speakers for the 2020 HR Retreat.
Schedule for the 2020 HR Retreat.
In this week's edition of Snapshot: News from the Hill, Executive and Regulatory Affairs and Happening in the States.
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.
A well-trained staff and an informed board are critical to the success of community foundations in our fast-changing world. This two-day course helps new and growing foundation stakeholders build the essential skills they need to balance governance and management with the broader understanding of community foundations within the philanthropic sector.
The health and economic impact of COVID-19 has continued to ripple through communities across the country and the world. Congress is discussing additional legislation to address some of the challenges faced by workers, businesses, nonprofits, and communities. Hear from experts about how provisions being discussed may impact the charitable sector. For any questions please reach out to govt@cof.org. A reminder this conversation is off the record.
Council on Foundations is committed to keeping the Career Pathways core value of community, equity, learning, and development present. This community-building hour is a virtual opportunity for Alumni to connect, reflect, share, or discuss. For more information about Career Pathways leadership development program, visit cof.org/careerpathways
In this week's edition of Snapshot: News from the Hill and Happening in the States.
Recording of webinar that featured Congressional experts discussing how COVID-19 provisions may impact the charitable sector.