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 and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have partnered the past six years on the Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships. The award emphasizes cross-sector partnerships between the philanthropic and public sectors. The goal is to recognize the partnership process and its impact as a community strategy to increase the quality of life for low- and moderate-income residents across all American geographies — urban, suburban, and rural.

Sponsors

The Council would like to thank all of the sponsors for their support of the 2018 HR Summit.

If you would like to learn more about becoming a sponsor, contact Luke Scuitto at luke.scuitto@cof.org or 703-879-0617.

The innovators from 2016 wait for the grand prize announcement.

The inaugural cohort of innovators waiting for the grand prize announcement.

Philanthropic leaders from across the country, national charitable organizations, lawmakers, and Congressional staff joined the Philanthropy Caucus for this reception to recognize the role of philanthropy as a unique stakeholder in collective efforts to address some of today's toughest challenges.

The House and Senate Philanthropy Caucuses came together for a social reception as a part of Philanthropy Week in Washington 2016. Representatives from a variety of national charitable organizations, lawmakers, and Congressional staff joined this event to recongize the role of philanthropy as a unique stakeholder in collective efforts to address some of today's toughest challenges.

This reception brought together philanthropic leaders from across the country, philanthropic and nonprofit leaders, Members of Congress, and Congressional staff to celebrate the role of philanthropy as a unique stakeholder in collective efforts to address some of today's toughest challenges.

Part of the Council on Foundations Veterans Philanthropy Series

Leaders from the charitable sector discussed the lessons philanthropy has learned while working to improve veterans' health and mental health.

Leaders from the charitable sector discussed how changes to the tax code could impact charitable giving and the nonprofit sector.

The briefing explored new research conducted by the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University on the unintended effects of such changes on the scope and value of the charitable deduction, and also assessed a policy solution to offset the estimated loss in charitable giving.

A panel of experts spoke on how the charitable deduction plays a critical role in communities and civil society across the country.

Members, View the Recording

This is a challenge that resonates with many communities across the country: