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. 

Developed out of a trending conversation on the Philanthropy Exchange (PhilEx), the Council invites you to join a peer-led discussion of how foundations are approaching COVID-19 vaccine policies in their return-to-office planning.
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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.
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.
This monthly call is for community foundations staff to connect with the National Standards staff and to ask questions related to the National Standards program.
The Council on Foundations (“the Council”) today announced the release of the 2021 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Report (GSB), an annual analysis of key human resources trends that includes the most comprehensive data on the composition and compensation of U.S. foundations.
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Drawing from demographic data for 9,424 full-time staff and salary data for 9,787 full-time staff, the 2021 GSB represents 952 institutional survey respondents. Community foundations, corporate foundations, operating foundations, public foundations, and private foundations (including family foundations) contributed to these data sets. The report includes detailed salary information for 36 full-time professional and administrative roles in philanthropy, classified by both geographic region and type of foundation.
This monthly call is for community foundations staff to connect with the National Standards staff and to ask questions related to the National Standards program.
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