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. 

For 40 years the Council has provided the most comprehensive analysis of salary and benefits for full-time staff at U.S. foundations through the Grantmaker Salary and Benefits (GSB) Report. This year the GSB Key Findings looks back on 5 years of demographic data and reveals that we have miles (and miles) to go to advance the field’s commitment to diversity.
COVID-19 has had a substantial impact on philanthropy and the way it does business. In the wake of this global pandemic, foundations took immediate action to do more – pledging to support nonprofit partners, people and communities hit hardest by the impacts of the virus. To highlight both the opportunities and the challenges global foundations face in shifting their practices, we are sharing blogs throughout the Fall from global funders who strive to do better despite the barriers.
Summary of Funder Roundtable on Indian FCRA Amendments held on September 30, 2020.
In this week's edition of Snapshot: News from the Council, the Hill, Executive and Regulatory Affairs and Happening in the States.
The Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Report (GSB) provides salary, benefits, and diversity data for full-time staff at U.S. foundations to aid in budget planning and personnel practice benchmarking. Information is presented by grantmaker type, foundation type, asset size, and geographic location.
Find resources to help your community foundation celebrate Community Foundation Week, held annually between November 12 and 18.
Led by the Council's legal team and Brad Ward, Lead Strategist, Community Philanthropy, this workshop is designed to answer your broad legal and practical questions on administering funds, grants, and community foundation activities.
In this week's edition of Snapshot: News from the Council, the Hill, Executive and Regulatory Affairs and Happening in the States.
Join the Council on Foundations and the International Center for Not-for-profit Law (ICNL) as the amendments are discussed and learn from peer funders about how the changes to FCRA will impact your work.
A new law signed on September 28, 2020 will greatly tighten and restrict the existing Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). FCRA is the cornerstone law that regulates how nonprofits in India can receive foreign funding, including from U.S.-based foundations and corporations.