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.

Programming

Wednesday, April 11

Opening Plenary — Engage, Educate, and Empower: Philanthropy’s Voice in the Public Policy Arena

We are in a unique moment in our history. The day’s political debates increasingly divide our country. Philanthropy has a role to play in maintaining our nation’s democracy and supporting the many issues that motivate our work. We have a voice. We must raise it loud and clear. 

CFE Financial Course logoFor community foundation CEOs, managers, or board members/trustees with fiscal responsibilities and those new to finance and fiscal administration, this course provides an understanding of the complicated aspects unique to community foundation finances. The interactive two-day course curriculum is designed so that participants will:

How Philanthropy Can Help Achieve the
U.N. Sustainable Development Goals in the U.S.

As implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals becomes a priority of the world, philanthropy has an opportunity to make an impact. This report from the Council on Foundations examines how U.S. funders can view their work in the global development framework and contribute to the success of the goals in the United States.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals aim to address the world’s most pressing challenges—from poverty to climate change—by aligning priorities and developing shared metrics to measure progress. While the SDG framework is designed for nations, all levels of government will need data to track performance and target resources effectively. This Urban Institute report show that the majority of SDG targets are relevant to US cities and data are generally available to track progress locally, although gaps exist.

Introducing the Global Goals is a resource to educate and inspire employees about the role they can play in advancing the Global Goals at work and in their community.

Introducing the Global Goals is the result of a collaboration between Aim2FlourishMedtronic Foundation and IMPACT2030.

The Council on Foundations hosted a number of SDG events in various states across the country. We created an events toolkit to guide you in hosting your own event. Here you can find useful rsources such as a sample agenda, handouts, and PowerPoint presentations for hosting local SDG events.

America is the world’s richest large economy, with the world’s leading technologies and institutions of higher learning. Yet, the United States of America (U.S.) is falling behind other countries on a range of indicators relating to quality-of-life, economic opportunity, and environmental management. Nowhere is this problem more apparent than in American cities, which are home to 62.7 percent of the domestic population. This U.S. Cities SDG Index aims to set a framework for action and help urban leaders address the many sustainable development challenges affecting their cities.