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.

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Working Group Members

Khalif Ali
Khalif Ali
Director of Public Policy and Advocacy
The Pittsburgh Foundation

Approximately 50 leaders from higher education, philanthropy, and the private sector recently met at Duke University for an intimate conversation about implicit bias. Organized by the TIAA Institute, Duke University, and the Council on Foundations, “Managing Effectively Across Differences: The Impact of Implicit Bias on Leadership,” examined the impact of implicit bias upon operational effectiveness.

The dialogue reflected the diversity of the attendees, which included CEOs, CIOs, CDOs, and other leaders from a number of universities, foundations, consulting firms and the media.

The Council on Foundations, National Council of Nonprofits and Independent Sector today voiced united opposition to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act being considered in the U.S. Senate. Leaders of the three organizations, which represent foundations and charitable nonprofits, sent a letter to lawmakers, an excerpt of which is below.

Dear Senators,

The charitable nonprofit and foundation communities stand united in opposition to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and, in the strongest possible terms, urge a “NO” vote on the bill. The current legislation damages the civic infrastructure upon which our communities depend, and hurts the people that we serve.

Members, View the Recording

The second session in our series on digitalization and the community foundation business model dives into business innovations for community foundations designed to address cybersecurity.

At a time when partisanship runs rampant and public divides seem numerous, this #GivingTuesday offers an opportunity for our country to focus on all the good that is happening around us and to work collectively, through donations of all kinds, to strengthen our society at every level.

The purpose of this monthly call is to offer community foundation staff a venue to voice questions or concerns related to the National Standards program. The input of community foundation staff is critical to the success of the program. Additionally, this call provides an opportunity for National Standards staff to update community foundation staff about any upcoming changes or improvements to the accreditation process. 

This event will take place the second Wednesday of each month at 1:00pm EST.

The purpose of this monthly call is to offer community foundation staff a venue to voice questions or concerns related to the National Standards program. The input of community foundation staff is critical to the success of the program. Additionally, this call provides an opportunity for National Standards staff to update community foundation staff about any upcoming changes or improvements to the accreditation process. 

This event will take place the second Wednesday of each month at 1:00pm EST.

The purpose of this monthly call is to offer community foundation staff a venue to voice questions or concerns related to the National Standards program. The input of community foundation staff is critical to the success of the program. Additionally, this call provides an opportunity for National Standards staff to update community foundation staff about any upcoming changes or improvements to the accreditation process. 

This event will take place the second Wednesday of each month at 1:00pm EST.

The purpose of this monthly call is to offer community foundation staff a venue to voice questions or concerns related to the National Standards program. The input of community foundation staff is critical to the success of the program. Additionally, this call provides an opportunity for National Standards staff to update community foundation staff about any upcoming changes or improvements to the accreditation process. 

This event will take place the second Wednesday of each month at 1:00pm EST.