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. 

In this week's edition of snapshot: Council News, Happening on the Hill, Executive & Regulatory Affairs, and Happening in the States.
Join the Council on Foundations and the Center for Effective Philanthropy to hear from experts in the field on learning from nonprofit partners and developing a culture of listening at your foundation, while building mechanisms that can withstand emergencies and improve your disaster response and grantmaking.
IRS Notice 2020-23, issued on April 9, 2020, clarifies that tax-exempt organizations are fully included in COVID-19 relief. Specifically, the filing and tax payment deadlines for IRS Form 990 series (990, 990-EZ, 990-PF and 990-T) normally due between April 1, 2020 and July 15, 2020 are automatically extended to July 15, 2020.
Updated information about the impact of severe storms during Spring 2020 and resources for foundations.
In conversations across the country with foundations leaders who generously helped to crystalize the Council’s vision for the future, one thing was clear. These philanthropic leaders are devoted to the missions and communities they support and are constantly looking for ways to do more.
As organizations continue COVID-19 response efforts, HR leaders in philanthropy are thoughtfully introducing innovative practices to care for the health and well-being of their employees, while coping with new and complex challenges. Join us for a facilitated, small-group dialogue to explore the implications this pandemic is having on your organization's recruitment, on-boarding, and letting go of staff.
This peer-to-peer conversation will be a forum to explore the HR, culture and talent implications of COVID-19, in a facilitated dialogue with a small group of 25-30 HR leaders in philanthropy.
This call will offer a status update on the 2020 Census, which began in earnest mid-March, just as COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic.
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.
Frequently asked questions about the Paycheck Protection Program.