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 is the first in a series of blogs to mark Community Foundation Week, which occurs November 12 – 18. We encourage community foundations to engage with the Council all week via social media using #CFWeek. Be sure to tag us @COF_ so we can retweet your stories of local impact!

Innovation Series leaders

Since 1978, the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia has facilitated philanthropic efforts to respond to critical needs in our region. In more recent years, however— especially since the launch of our Innovation Fund in 2012—the Community Foundation has also worked to seed new, innovative approaches to community economic development.

On November 8, 2017, the Council on Foundations released the following statement from President and CEO Vikki Spruill:

November ushers in the giving season and time to reflect on achievements met or unmet, and new aspirations for the coming year. Yet, this particularly November, turbulence across America continues.

We are living with new American realities—a recent shooting in a small town outside San Antonio on the heels of the Las Vegas shooting and attack in New York on bikers and pedestrians, all while families and small businesses are still picking up the pieces after raging fires in Northern California.

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

“For nearly 70 years, the Council on Foundations has worked to inspire and expand a culture of charitable giving and enhance philanthropy’s ability to contribute to vibrant, healthy and thriving communities across the globe. Today’s legislation introduced in the House of Representatives fails to enhance those efforts in a number of significant ways.