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.

Today, the Council on Foundations released the following statement from Javier Alberto Soto, President of the Miami Foundation and Chair of the Board of Directors for the Council on Foundations:

“On behalf of the Board and staff of the Council on Foundations, we congratulate Vikki Spruill on her appointment to become the next President and CEO of the New England Aquarium.  We wish her much success as she returns to ocean conservation to pursue her passion for protecting our world’s oceans at one of the nation’s most recognized institutions

Since 1980, the Council's Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Survey has provided the sector with the most comprehensive data on staff composition and compensation in the U.S. Grantmakers rely on this annual report to plan budgets, benchmark personnel policies and practices, determine salary levels for new and existing staff, and more. 

Key Dates

The 2018 Survey will be open from April 2 through May 14, and the results will be released in mid-September. 

Field research for the 2017 Council on Foundations-Commonfund Study of Investment of Endowments for Private & Community Foundations (CCSF) has now begun and will continue for the next several weeks.

Following upon the first-ever North American Community Foundations Summit held in Mexico City February, we invited nine travel scholarship recipients who attended to write about their experiences and observations. This is the second compilation of blogs in that series. We are especially thankful to the Knight Foundation, International Community Foundation, Resource Foundation, Arizona Community Foundation, and Hispanics in Philanthropy for sponsoring these scholarships.

This schedule is subject to change



Wednesday, May 23


8-9 a.m.

Networking Breakfast And Welcome

Room: Forum

This month, work on public policy that impacts philanthropy has been a large focus across the Council. Most relevant to global grantmakers, I’ve been working with partners on the US Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA). There are more than seven bills currently proposed in the House and Senate that will impact FARA, which could have significant impacts on US foundations working with global partners.

The Council on Foundations’ Veterans Philanthropy Exchange hosted a congressional briefing to highlight work underway in veterans’ healthcare and mental health services for transitioning veterans. The briefing, which included leaders from Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, Robert R.

As you read this, I’ve landed on the beautiful island of St. Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, to engage with community foundations, our federal partners, FEMA, and other associations to discuss how philanthropy helps this U.S. territory, as well as Puerto Rico, continue its recovery from the devastating hurricanes back in September.