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.

Join the Council’s senior counsel Suzanne Friday as she discusses US regulation and compliance issues outside of the U.S. Tax Code that affect global grantmakers. Topics will includes regulations like the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA), Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), US Treasury’s voluntary anti-terrorism guidelines and more.

With the giving season in full swing, I was inspired to see community foundations embrace the global #GivingTuesday movement.

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:

This article from the United Nations Development Program reports on an initiative for long-term partnerships in Kenya to advance the Sustainable Development Goals

This resource from Africa Grantmakers' Affinity Group provides resources and information on the Nigerian philanthropc sector

This resource from Foundation Center presents a summary report on a series of workshops on data strategy and capacity building for philanthropy in Uganda

This report from the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law provides detailed information on philanthropy law in South Africa.