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: Happening on the Hill, Executive & Regulatory Affairs, and Happening in the States.
This is a summary of the fourth bill Congress passed to help with the effects of the coronavirus outbreak. This guide highlights the specific provisions of that bill that may impact the charitable sector.
Responding to your community’s needs during the COVID-19 pandemic is complicated. How you can combat the outbreak and its deepening impact on public health and the economy will differ from place to place. However, effective practices are emerging among community foundations that are applicable and adaptable to many different regions. Here are some tips and resources from the Council’s team and from community foundations around the country to help you respond in your community.
Here's how, in this new reality caused by the coronovirus pandemic, community foundations can play a vital role in supporting both individuals and small businesses.
You may wonder whether you can make grants to GoFundMe campaigns that are supporting localized efforts during disasters. Proceed cautiously: GoFundMe and many similar crowdfunding platforms are not registered 501(c)3 public charities, and therefore you need to examine carefully whether the campaigns hosted on these sites are charitable in nature.
Recording of the members only Q&A discussion that addresses emerging legal questions due to the coronavirus outbreak.
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.