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. 

Led by the Council's legal team and Brad Ward, Lead Strategist, Community Philanthropy, this workshop is designed to answer your broad legal and practical questions on administering funds, grants, and community foundation activities.
In this week's edition of Snapshot: News from the Hill, Executive and Regulatory Affairs and Happening in the States.
Led by the Council's legal team and Brad Ward, Lead Strategist, Community Philanthropy, this workshop is designed to answer your broad legal and practical questions on administering funds, grants, and community foundation activities.
Since the first confirmed U.S. case of COVID-19 in January 2020 in Washington state, the pandemic has created an unprecedented public health and economic emergency across the United States. With its disproportionate impact in communities of color, the crisis also has laid bare the devastating racial disparities that are endemic across American society. In response, philanthropy has joined with nonprofits, government, and business to provide urgently needed support for individuals and communities that have been adversely affected by the virus and the economic impact on commercial activity, travel, and more. From special response funds to targeted grants, philanthropy has provided billions of dollars in new support to help people and communities cope.
The health and economic impact of COVID-19 has continued to ripple through communities across the country and the world. Congress is discussing additional legislation to address some of the challenges faced by workers, businesses, nonprofits, and communities. Hear from experts about how provisions being discussed may impact the charitable sector. For any questions please reach out to govt@cof.org. A reminder this conversation is off the record.
In partnership with CHANGE Philanthropy, this peer-to-peer conversation will be facilitated by Chana Anderson, an experienced HR executive, in dialogue with philanthropic HR leaders from across the country. While several questions are lined up for discussion on the theme of the webinar, there is room to be responsive to the topics participants want to discuss.
Working Group for the 2020 HR Retreat.
Schedule for the 2020 HR Retreat.
Registration for the 2020 HR Retreat
Give2Asia launched its Coronavirus Response Fund on January 23, 2020 with a focus on China, and has since expanded the effort to serve all 23 countries where Give2Asia works in the Asia Pacific region.