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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Public and private sector organizations, anchor institutions like community colleges and universities, and philanthropy all play a vital role in strengthening local economies. Together, they can serve as powerful drivers for building inclusive and equitable communities. Leadership and action are critical to creating new pathways to prosperity.
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Plenary Sessions & Leadership in Action Series
Join us as we come together to discuss the crucial opportunities and issues facing philanthropy today. We’ll be covering topics including inclusivity and leadership, bridging divides, addressing climate vulnerability, creating inclusive economic prosperity, and the latest in philanthropic practice.
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Celebrate the Council’s 70th birthday in true Miami beach style! Attendees will be immersed in the tropical essences and pulsing energy of South Beach, as we celebrate with the very best music, fine cuisine, and entertainment South Beach has to offer.