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. 

Sponsors for the 2020 Public Policy Summit.
Earlier this year, the Council on Foundations issued a COVID-19 Call to Action to its community of domestic and international funders, asking foundations to provide unrestricted funding to grantee organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic. This call to action prompted a timely discussion with several of Give2Asia’s funding partners about the trade-offs of offering unrestricted funding generally. We continue to welcome these conversations and encourage funders and other intermediaries to consider whether general support grantmaking needs renewed focus as a best practice.
The Annual Member Meeting is the kickoff event for Member Week. The Member Meeting will start with a keynote remarks from Fred Blackwell, CEO of San Francisco Foundation, and conclude with a brief Member Meeting where Kathleen Enright, Council President & CEO, will share the State of the Council and members will vote on the new additions to the Board of Directors.
The Council on Foundations public policy priorities for 2020-2021 include: Federal Tax Regulations, Encouraging Charitable Giving, Post-Graduation Scholarships, and Johnson Amendment.
Read the latest UN and Country Regulatory updates, Global Philanthropy & Development News, and more.
When the Council on Foundations published A Call to Action: Philanthropy’s Commitment during COVID-19 in March, the COVID-19 pandemic was in its early stages. Now, its impact has surpassed many of our worst fears, and an economic recession and long-standing racial injustices add to this moment of crisis. Foundations continue to strive to shift their practices across the world to improve how they work with their nonprofit partners and how to respond to crises. This blog explores how listening to communities can help global foundations respond to these challenging times, even those many miles removed from the communities they serve.
For 40 years the Council has provided the most comprehensive analysis of salary and benefits for full-time staff at U.S. foundations through the Grantmaker Salary and Benefits (GSB) Report. This year the GSB Key Findings looks back on 5 years of demographic data and reveals that we have miles (and miles) to go to advance the field’s commitment to diversity.
COVID-19 has had a substantial impact on philanthropy and the way it does business. In the wake of this global pandemic, foundations took immediate action to do more – pledging to support nonprofit partners, people and communities hit hardest by the impacts of the virus. To highlight both the opportunities and the challenges global foundations face in shifting their practices, we are sharing blogs throughout the Fall from global funders who strive to do better despite the barriers.
Summary of Funder Roundtable on Indian FCRA Amendments held on September 30, 2020.
In this week's edition of Snapshot: News from the Council, the Hill, Executive and Regulatory Affairs and Happening in the States.