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 2017, they gave an estimated $5.48 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. Currently, over 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, approximately 300 are members of the Council on Foundations. The community foundation model also has taken hold around the world. Community foundations have participated in the growth of international giving by U.S. foundations in recent years, with international giving by community foundations more than tripling, from $103 million in 2011 to $315 million in 2015, and community foundations' share of overall international giving by U.S. foundations more than doubling, from 1.4 percent in 2011 to 3.4 percent in 2015.

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. Please also visit cof.org/community-foundations for currated community foundation content. 

Drawing from demographic data for 9,424 full-time staff and salary data for 9,787 full-time staff, the 2021 GSB represents 952 institutional survey respondents. Community foundations, corporate foundations, operating foundations, public foundations, and private foundations (including family foundations) contributed to these data sets. The report includes detailed salary information for 36 full-time professional and administrative roles in philanthropy, classified by both geographic region and type of foundation.
This monthly call is for community foundations staff to connect with the National Standards staff and to ask questions related to the National Standards program.
Please join us for an important conversation about the climate movement and systemic racism in the United States. We often hear that “durable” US climate policy requires bipartisan buy-in and agreement, but durable policy also requires a movement that can maintain and enhance a functioning democracy. Yet, we also need "meaningful" climate policy, and that will require people power.
The Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Report (GSB) 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.
This workshop, led by the Council's legal team, is designed to answer your broad legal and practical questions on administering funds, grants, and community foundation activities.
Nonprofits and their funders know this challenge all too well—an organization has a great idea, so they begin to seek capital from funders or foundations. They hear the same answer regularly – “It sounds like a great idea. Come back to us after you’re further along.”
In response to a rise in anti-democratic extremism and hate groups in the U.S., the Council on Foundations (Council) today released Values-Aligned Philanthropy: Foundations Resisting Hate and Extremism. The report and accompanying online resource hub are part of the Council’s efforts to prevent hate funding within the philanthropic sector.
In late 2020, the Council on Foundations (the Council) launched the Values-Aligned Philanthropy project to continue to build on their previous efforts within the philanthropic sector to respond to growing concern about the issue of funding hate and extremism. The Council took this step recognizing that while there is significant work being done by grantmakers and social sector leaders across the country to prevent hate funding, there has not been a comprehensive analysis of what has been done and who is doing what from the perspective of philanthropy. The Council believes that mapping the eco-system will provide a baseline for identifying gaps, best practices, and next steps to addressing this problem. The Values-Aligned Philanthropy project is funded by the Gill Foundation. Research and writing for the project have been provided by Roey Thorpe, an independent consultant, with guidance from Council staff.
America finds itself in a moment of political polarization. At times, nonprofits can reflect or even magnify that polarization. But at our best, we can serve as a bridge across the cultural chasms of our time. Americans across the political spectrum want to live in thriving communities — and every day, nonprofits help communities thrive.
Napa Valley Community Foundation (NVCF) will not process grants to organizations that NVCF knows or has reason to believe support or engage in hateful activities. NVCF will implement this policy through due diligence to ensure that hateful activities are identified and steps are taken to avoid any NVCF support for them.