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. 

Schedule for the 2020 HR Retreat.
Registration for the 2020 HR Retreat
Give2Asia launched its Coronavirus Response Fund on January 23, 2020 with a focus on China, and has since expanded the effort to serve all 23 countries where Give2Asia works in the Asia Pacific region.
Council Office Hours for Community Foundations opens the the conversation between funders and Council attorneys, Bryan Del Rosario and Ben McDearmon, and lead strategist for community philanthropy, Brad Ward, on pressing issues in response to COVID-19.
Council Office Hours for Community Foundations opens the the conversation between funders and Council attorneys, Bryan Del Rosario and Ben McDearmon, and lead strategist for community philanthropy, Brad Ward, on pressing issues in response to COVID-19.
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.
Webinar recording from June 25, 2020 Legal Office Hours for Community Foundations covering COVID-19 response.
This chapter of Mastering Foundation Law reviews what foundation managers need to know about state-level regulations of fundraising: why and how states regulate fundraising; the basic requirements for compliance; and practical challenges that impact the day-to-day fundraising operations of charitable organizations.
Read the latest UN and Country Regulatory updates, Global Philanthropy & Development News, and more.
COVID-19 has prompted a rapid response from funders to channel funding to organizations across the world. To make this happen efficiently, global intermediaries have stepped up to support individuals, foundations, and corporations in directing support to charitable organizations in Asia & the Pacific, Europe, Africa, and Latin America.