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.

Editor's note: This post is one in a series highlighting sessions for the upcoming Endowments and Finance Summit, held in Washington, DC, on September 6-7. The Summit is where foundation leaders – such as CEOs, CIOs, CFOs, Senior Investment Officers and board and investment committee members – converge to dialogue on trends, issues, best practices and innovations dealing with endowments, financial management, business and other professional challenges. 

A new report released today by the Council on Foundations and Foundation Center reveals that global giving by U.S. foundations increased by 29% from 2011 to 2015, reaching an all-time high of $9.3 billion in 2015.  With mounting challenges that transcend national boundaries, it’s increasingly important to understand how funds are being allocated to tackle global issues like climate change and the spread of preventable diseases.

The Council on Foundations is inviting executive staff of community foundations for an exchange of ideas to strengthen communities across the United States. As a field, we need to come together to discuss the current mischaracterization of donor advised funds (DAFs), and how we can implement strategies for success for all community foundations.

The Council on Foundations and Foundation Center analyzed how US foundations supported international communities, non-profits, and programs between 2011 and 2015 for our report, The State of Global Giving by U.S. Foundations: 2011-2015.

A memorial at the site of the 2017 attacks in Charlottesville.This week Charlottesville will recognize the one-year anniversary of the “Unite the Right” rally that culminated a summer of white supremacist intimidation. Like many of you, I watched in disgust as mobs of angry demonstrators converged on the streets of our city shouting slogans of hate and terror.

Plenary Sessions

Opening Plenary — Harnessing the Momentum, Finding Opportunities, Building Stronger Futures

Thursday, September 6 - 9:30-10:30 a.m.

Editor's Note: The following is an edited version of a Mott Perspectives piece written by Ridgway White, president of the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

Who's Attending

2017 CCSF Report Cover

The CCSF report is the field’s most comprehensive and authoritative study on investment and governance policies and practices. The 2017 CCSF studies over 220 private and community foundations that represent over $104 billion in assets. Topics covered include: