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. 

The Council wants to thank and recognize the hard work of the amazing group of individuals who helped us plan Leading Together 2021.
Partner with us for Leading Together 2021. Sponsorship is one of the best ways to elevate your organization as a thought leader and highlight your commitment to advancing the work of the philanthropic sector.
This is not your typical Zoom. We planned this conference with YOU in mind. Our conference platform and thoughtful program design will give you the chance to expand your thinking, reconnect with old friends, build new relationships, and get energized for the work ahead.
Register for Leading Together 2021 taking place June 14-17.
Register for Leading Together 2021 taking place June 14-17.
Join GCIR for a conversation with local and national AAPI leaders to learn more not only about the narrative, policy, and solidarity efforts to address anti-Asian violence but also about opportunities to build durable AAPI immigrant power across the country.
Webinar recording from April 8, 2021, Legal Office Hours for Community Foundations.
Webinar recording from April 8, 2021, Policy Update about the Initiative to Accelerate Charitable Giving draft policy proposal.
Hear an overview of the recently passed $1.9 trillion relief legislation known as the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and the key pillars of the new infrastructure proposals, the American Jobs Plan, announced by President Biden on March 31. The jobs plan targets 40 percent of the benefits of climate and clean infrastructure investments to disadvantaged communities, so the input from the philanthropic community can help policymakers envision what solutions can be translated into legislative language. Find out if your Member of Congress is one of the legislative architects or a key influencer in the House or Senate.
Join us for a series of workshop trainings based on the most reported pain points for foundations in the Shifting Practices, Sharing Power.