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.

Why do some leap ahead while others fall behind in today’s chaotic, connected world? In NEW POWER, Henry Timms (CEO of 92nd Street Y and founder of #GivingTuesday) and his co-author Jeremy Heimans (CEO of Purpose) confront the biggest stories of our age and reveal what’s really behind them: the rise of “new power”. New Power is the ultimate skill of our times- the ability to harness the power of the connected crowd.

The Race, Poverty and Trust convening features guest speaker Tiziana Dearing, Professor of Macro Practice at the Boston College Graduate School of Social Work. Tiziana is the former CEO of Boston Rising, a place-based, anti-poverty, public foundation that aimed to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty by replicating the Robin Hood Foundation and Harlem Children Zone’s models in Grove Hall, a Boston neighborhood inundated with poverty and crime.

The purpose of this monthly call is to offer community foundation staff a venue to voice questions or concerns related to the National Standards program. The input of community foundation staff is critical to the success of the program. Additionally, this call provides an opportunity for National Standards staff to update community foundation staff about any upcoming changes or improvements to the accreditation process. 

This event will take place the second Wednesday of each month at 1:00pm EST.

The purpose of this monthly call is to offer community foundation staff a venue to voice questions or concerns related to the National Standards program. The input of community foundation staff is critical to the success of the program. Additionally, this call provides an opportunity for National Standards staff to update community foundation staff about any upcoming changes or improvements to the accreditation process. 

This event will take place the second Wednesday of each month at 1:00pm EST.

The purpose of this monthly call is to offer community foundation staff a venue to voice questions or concerns related to the National Standards program. The input of community foundation staff is critical to the success of the program. Additionally, this call provides an opportunity for National Standards staff to update community foundation staff about any upcoming changes or improvements to the accreditation process. 

This event will take place the second Wednesday of each month at 1:00pm EST.

By now you have heard the news that Vikki Spruill has accepted a position at the New England Aquarium and in June will return to the ocean conservation community, where she has deep roots. The Council appreciates Vikki’s leadership and wishes her well. As we turn to seeking a new leader, we want to hear from you. What are the most pressing issues for the next leader to focus on? What attributes are vital in the next person to head the Council?

CFE Fundamentals logoA well-trained staff and an informed board are critical to the success of community foundations in our fast-changing world. This two-day course helps new and experienced community foundation staff build the essential skills they need to balance governance and management.

Created and led by experienced leaders, this course includes:

On December 20, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced the first recipient of our 100&Change competition’s $100 million grant: an early childhood intervention for children in the Syrian refugee region co-developed by Sesame Workshop and the International Rescue Committee. The Sesame/IRC project was selected over an initial field of more than 1,900 applicants through a multi-stage process that eventually identified four finalists.