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 2011, they gave an estimated $4.3 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. Right now nearly 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, more than 570 belong to the Council on Foundations. The community foundation model also has taken hold around the world. According to the 2010 Community Foundation Global Status Report, there are 1,680 community foundations in 51 countries. Forty-six percent exist outside of the United States. 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.

We will be taking a break from sending Snapshot through the rest of this year, and will return on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018. We wish all our readers a safe and happy holiday!

The Council, in partnership with Atlas Corps and American Express, will share information on the Atlas Corps Fellows Program. Atlas Corps facilitates overseas fellowships for the best of the world's rising leaders. They volunteer for 12-18 months at outstanding organizations (foundations, corporations and nonprofits) addressing social issues and are enrolled in an ongoing training program.

Member, View the Recording

The tax bill has passed and many in the sector are wondering what it will mean for our work, and what comes next in our advocacy. Join us for a detailed look at the tax bill and a discussion on the legislative provisions that will impact philanthropy and charities. We also discuss next steps for raising our sector's priorities in the government relations arena.

Members, View the Recording

The Bush Approach is an evaluation tool developed by the Bush Foundation to gauge program strategy. Their approach is based on the belief that systems are really made up of the people within them. Changing systems, therefore, requires inspiring, equipping, and connecting people to do the work.

The Bush Approach is based around four questions:

The Council on Foundations is proud to announce the 24 members of its 2018 Career Pathways cohort, representing the fifth class of the program.

Career Pathways equips mid-career professionals at grantmaking organizations and other non-profit institutions to lead high-performing organizations and programs in the U.S. and around the world. Since launching in 2010, 81 percent of Career Pathways alumni are working at the senior executive level in philanthropic organizations across the world.