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, more than 570 belong to 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. 

We’re only a month away from the 74th UN General Assembly (UNGA) – and the world still has significant work to do if we are to meet the development thresholds set in the SDGs.

Like many of you, I am deeply saddened by the mass shootings that have gripped our nation. The gun violence and misguided hate is heartbreaking.

But those shootings, which rocked the nation, were not the only incidents of gun violence last weekend. Individuals were killed in Chicago; a child was shot and killed in a drive-by-shooting in Louisiana; and countless other incidents occurred due to gun violence – in just one weekend. In most cases, people were gunned down for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It is an unfortunate reality of our times that all too often foundations must respond to mass casualty events in their communities. There are immediate questions that need to be addressed and an ongoing crisis to manage if your foundation is going to raise and deploy philanthropic capital in support of the victims, their families or the impacted community.

Because these incidents occur at random:

Philanthropy has responded generously to a range of extreme natural events over the past few years, from wildfires to earthquakes to floods to hurricanes and to heatwaves. Recent extreme natural events have exposed the vulnerability of marginalized communities – especially low-income communities and communities of color – in preparing for and responding to disasters. However, we have largely ignored the underlying mechanisms that contribute to racial, gender, and wealth inequality long after a disaster.

In September 2019 - representatives from government, civil society, and the corporate sector will come together at the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York City to discuss important global challenges, from hunger and poverty to climate change and natural disasters.

Hundreds of UNGA side-events, will bring together thousands of people, all working in different ways to “leave no one behind” and achieve the SDGs by 2030.

From the June 2019 NGA State Summit on Opportunity Zones. Includes OZ overview, current statues, state administrative offices responsible for OZs, relevant state legislation, and update on federal regulations.

Plenary Sessions

Check back here often for updates.


Opening Plenary — Meeting Obligations in a Time of Financial Volatility and Uncertainty

Thursday, September 19 | 9:15-10:30 a.m.

CFUnited2020The Council is excited to work with our partners—the community foundation affinity groups AdNet, Comma, and ProNet