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. 

It’s one of the most frequent questions the Anti-Defamation League gets asked: Where do White supremacists get their money?
Following the violent extremist, far-right rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 11 and 12, 2017, a coalition of civil society organizations came together to form a year-long initiative: Communities Overcoming Extremism: The After Charlottesville Project (COE).
This white paper aims to help decision-makers accelerate existing efforts to address the complex problem of hate-funding in philanthropy — efforts that are slowly converging in different parts of the country and that demonstrate varying degrees of progress.
The Southern Poverty Law Center released its annual Year in Hate and Extremism report, identifying 838 active hate groups across the United States in 2020.
PEAK Grantmaking calls on funders to thoughtfully examine how their values are reflected in their practices and ensure consistency between what they say and what they do.
As leaders of philanthropic institutions, donor-advised fund providers, and individual philanthropists, we are joining together to take a stand against the twisted use of charitable funds to support organizations that foment hatred.
Innovia Foundation has made an intentional commitment to advance Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) in everything they do. In 2019, the Foundation designed its Strategic Framework with these three values in mind: Innovative | Inclusive | Collaborative.
This update seeks to provide the latest information about Seattle Foundation's ongoing work to review its current grantmaking policies, and consider ways the Foundation can ensure these policies align with its collective commitment to address the widening disparities in our region.
Special Note regarding the Foundation’s prohibition on “hateful activities.” As discussed throughout this Guide, decisions regarding grant distributions made from a donor-advised fund, and the investment of assets, are made at the sole discretion of Amalgamated Foundation in furtherance of its charitable and educational mission.
By expanding its purview beyond an exclusive focus on healthcare in Borrego Springs, the BVEF Board has made a strategic decision to expand the focus of the Fund and will partner with other nonprofit organizations to create maximum beneficial impact that is community-wide, self-sustaining, and enduring.