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.

As you read this, I’ve landed on the beautiful island of St. Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, to engage with community foundations, our federal partners, FEMA, and other associations to discuss how philanthropy helps this U.S. territory, as well as Puerto Rico, continue its recovery from the devastating hurricanes back in September.  

The first-ever North American Community Foundations Summit was held in Mexico City on February 5-6 and was co-hosted with Comunalia, Community Foundations of Canada.

The Council on Foundations wrote, on behalf of our members, to the U.S. Department of Treasury and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in response to Notice 2017-73—which was released on Dec. 4, 2017, and requested comments on the application of penalties with respect to donor advised funds (DAFs) in three distinct situations where a Donor/Advisor:

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Plenary Sessions

Opening Plenary — Engage, Educate, and Empower: Philanthropy’s Voice in the Public Policy Arena

Wednesday, April 11, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.

We are in a unique moment in our history. The day’s political debates increasingly divide our country. Philanthropy has a role to play in maintaining our nation’s democracy and supporting the many issues that motivate our work. We have a voice. We must raise it loud and clear.

Tucked into the 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was a provision to encourage investors to put capital in distressed communities. Dubbed “Opportunity Zones,” this provision allows governors to nominate low-income communities within their states to receive the Qualified Opportunity Zone designation from the Department of Treasury. Once in place, investors will be able to defer capital gains taxes when they choose to reinvest their earnings in these communities.

International Women’s Day is a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. This day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. The philanthropic sector is especially poised to take on this action.

Members, View the Recording

Prizes, challenges, and competitions can bring new awareness to critical issues, help grantmakers reach beyond their existing networks, and connect participants with new resources. But they are not easy to do well.