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.

The Council on Foundations was proud to recently sponsor and participate in the George W. Bush Institute’s Stand-To National Veterans Convening, a summit focused on veteran transition.

The 2016 Full Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Report offers the most comprehensive information in the field of grantmaking on compensation levels and salary administration. This report contains:

In This Week's Edition of Snapshot…

  • Tax Reform Update: Senate Finance Chairman calls for input on tax reform
  • Health care seems to gain steam in Senate
  • HUD announces it will begin accepting unsolicited proposals for research
  • In the States: Delaware charitable deduction at risk

Strengthening Local Communities to Achieve Global Goals

Overview

There are significant challenges facing communities in the Southwest, including racial inequality in education, economic opportunities and health outcomes.

In This Week's Edition of Snapshot…

  • CHARITY Act is reintroduced in Senate
  • Tax Reform Update: Freedom Caucus weighs in on tax reform
  • Senate continues work on health care legislation
  • Deadline for addressing debt limit more fluid than previously thought
  • In the States: Budgets and late nights at the legislature, Massachusetts considers linking nonprofit salaries and property tax exemptions, States seeking Medicaid waivers
  • Giving USA 2017 report is released

This month I’m highlighting the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations® program, which I’m delighted to report continues to add distinction to the work of the field.

In Star Wars, Episode IV (still the best one in my opinion!), when the Death Star looms large in front of the Millenium Falcon, Luke Skywalker mutters, “I have a very bad feeling about this.”

When it comes to federal regulation of donor advised funds, I’m beginning to feel the same way.

This week’s activity on the CHARITY Act showed us that the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations® continues to provide value for community foundations. The National Standards program was recognized in drafting the act’s legislation for the IRA Charitable Rollover. Senate staff stated specifically that the National Standards grant activity policy was how foundations should ensure their funds are making grants at least every three years.

Today, the Council on Foundations released the following statement from President and CEO Vikki Spruill: