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.

This report provides salary, benefits, and diversity data for full-time staff at U.S. foundations to aid in budget planning and personnel practice benchmarking. Information is presented by grantmaker type, foundation type, asset size, and geographic location.

Contents include:

The Excellence in Public-Philanthropic Partnerships Exchange (Exchange) will host a webinar featuring the California College Pathways (CCP) Project, which recently received the 2018 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships.

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:

Community Foundations are part of the fabric for creating vibrant communities across the United States. They cultivate relationships by connecting people to what matters locally. Given that past work, never has there been a better time for community foundations to play a lead role as a beneficial catalyst in spurring community prosperity and their own prospects for future philanthropic gifts through entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurial ecosystems, at their heart, are based on human relationships.

As the 2018 Career Pathways cohort approaches their final learning session in November, the Council on Foundations is eagerly preparing for the 2019 program.  We are anticipating a transformative year with a new group of powerful, dynamic, and talented leaders that are ready to hone their leadership, vision, and build their peer networks.

The Council on Foundations Awards Program was established to recognize excellence in philanthropy and honor exemplary leaders for their dedication to exploring creative ways to advance the common good and to finding solutions for complex issues.