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. 

Over the past weeks, we have all likely felt deep sadness and concern for those impacted by the Ukraine crisis. The invasion of Ukraine was more than an attack on a country; it has had a destabilizing effect felt across the globe.
Community foundation executives are invited to join a peer roundtable conversation to learn more about the unique opportunities and challenges for community foundations accepting cryptocurrency.
Connect with community foundation peers to learn about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This group of community foundations meets monthly by Zoom to discuss SDG hot topics including education, local implementation, community alignment and communication, professional development, data, grantmaking, and more. This community is primarily focused on expanding the SDGs in the United States through community foundation action, but all nationalities are welcome.
For funders who want to support relief efforts in Ukraine, there are three main ways to respond: Making direct grants to organizations in the region, Funding through an intermediary or pooled fund hosted by US organization, or Funding US 501(c)(3) or international organizations responding in the region.
Connect with community foundation peers to learn about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This group of community foundations meets monthly by Zoom to discuss SDG hot topics including education, local implementation, community alignment and communication, professional development, data, grantmaking, and more. This community is primarily focused on expanding the SDGs in the United States through community foundation action, but all nationalities are welcome.
The Public Policy Action Network will meet to share legislative updates and ask questions.
The Public Policy Action Network will meet to share legislative updates and ask questions.
Join this peer-to-peer conversation with HR, Culture, and Talent leaders in philanthropy to discuss best practices and new ideas related to talent management, organizational culture, and other operational functions.
Funders around the world have sprung into action to support those at risk during the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Eastern Europe. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24 has already resulted in more than 800,000 Ukrainians fleeing the conflict and seeking refuge abroad. As the conflict continues, philanthropy has a unique opportunity to help.
Philanthropy’s Response for the Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis.