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. 

This is a summary of the fifth bill Congress passed to help with the effects of the coronavirus outbreak. This guide highlights the specific provisions of that bill that may impact the charitable sector.
This publication, jointly developed by Fundación ONCE and the European Foundation Centre, focuses on how the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals are serving as a framework for foundations to develop their action on disability inclusion.
In this week's edition of Snapshot: News from the Council, News from the Hill, Executive and Regulatory Affairs and Happening in the States.
Council on Foundations and re-constituted affinity group, CEONet, invite CEOs and Executive Directors of community foundations to join a virtual roundtable in support of the continued efforts by the field to respond and adapt to the challenges of COVID-19.
Council Office Hours for Community Foundations opens the the conversation between funders and Council attorneys, Bryan Del Rosario and Ben McDearmon, and lead strategist for community philanthropy, Brad Ward, on pressing issues in response to COVID-19.
Webinar recording from May 28, 2020 of Legal Office Hours for Community Foundations covering COVID-19 response.
In conversations across the country with foundations leaders who generously helped to crystalize the Council’s vision for the future, one thing was clear. These philanthropic leaders are devoted to the missions and communities they support and are constantly looking for ways to do more.
In this week's edition of Snapshot: News from the Hill, Executive and Regulatory Affairs and Happening in the States.
The philanthropic sector's ability to influence public policy has been a pathway to significant social change in the United States. Using the current global crisis as a backdrop, this session will focus on a discussion of policy engagement through a health policy lens.
In this week's edition of Snapshot: News from the Hill, Executive and Regulatory Affairs and Happening in the States.