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.

SECF is partnering with the Council on Foundations to promote the first Inclusive Economic Prosperity Convening in the South, May 23-24, hosted by The Spartanburg County Foundation. We hope you will join us for this important convening of foundation staff and trustees to learn how philanthropy can be a driving force that advances economic prosperity for all. Register today!

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Today, the Community Foundations National Standards Board (CFNSB), a supporting organization of the Council on Foundations, announced four new board members.

Members, View the Recording

Almost all foundations and nonprofits want a better understanding of how their funding, services and products are (or are not) making a difference in real people’s lives and how they might be improved.