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. 

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.
Webinar recording of Legal Office Hours for Community Foundations on pressing issues in response to COVID-19.
The Council is a co-sponsor of this webinar from the Center for Disaster Philanthropy, which explored the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and its impact on nonprofits and vulnerable communities.
In this week's edition of Snapshot: News from the Council, News from the Hill, Executive and Regulatory Affairs and Happening in the States.
Developed out of a trending conversation on the Philanthropy Exchange the Council invites you to join a peer-led discussion of how community foundations are adapting programmatic strategy to deliver their core mission amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
Webinar recording of Legal Office Hours for Community Foundations on pressing issues in response to COVID-19.
In this week's edition of Snapshot: News from the Hill, Executive and Regulatory Affairs and Happening in the States.
The Council was a co-sponsor with the Center for Disaster Philanthropy on this webinar, which explored place-based grantmaking and the importance of strengthening local communities and organizations to create a new philanthropic and nonprofit landscape, focused on recovery, that prioritizes equity, partnership and collaboration.
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.
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.