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. 

Hosted by Worldwide Initiatives for Grantmaker Support (WINGS), the session will have representatives of the Spanish Association of Foundations (AEF), the Council on Foundations and the European Foundation Centre (EFC) to talk about what goes on behind the scenes in the successful strategies to promote an enabling environment for civil society and philanthropy to thrive.
The 2019 Board Compensation Tables provide foundation board and staff with the tools they need to benchmark their board compensation policies and practices against peers in the field. This report contains data collected through the Council's 2019 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Survey and presented by foundation type, asset group, and U.S. Census region.
As 2019 comes to a close, I’m reflecting on my first year at the Council on Foundations. I’m proud of the strides we’ve made in forging strong relationships across the sector, moving our policy agenda forward, supporting the professional growth of members and reimagining both our membership model and our vision for the future of the Council.
This webinar is canceled. The CFUnited Conference is being postponed due of the COVID-19 outbreak. For more information, please see the official conference statement.
I’ve just finished a year-long program that aims to bring more diverse senior leadership to the philanthropic sector. My time with the Council on Foundations’ Career Pathways program was transformative and will, no doubt, have an impact on my thinking and career trajectory in ways that I can’t yet even imagine. So why am I not on top of the world?
The Council on Foundations and the Daniel and Barbara Chapman Trust today announced Opportunity Fund as the recipient of the 2019 Chapman Prize.
The CFUnited 2020 Conference is cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Sometimes the greatest thing to come from building relationships and networks beyond your own borders—with peers in the US and even beyond— is merely a rehearsal for something you don’t even know you are rehearsing. You never know when or how those relationships will materialize into something more. Politics aside, migration is complicated for both sides of the border.
Due to rapidly escalating health concerns relating to the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), the Council on Foundations has decided to cancel this Community Foundation Excellence (CFE) Fundamentals Course. This decision was made out of concern for the health and well-being of our attendees. We will work with the Communities Foundation of Texas and Philanthropy Southwest to find an alternate date to offer the course, ideally in 2020, subject to the containment of COVID-19 and ability to travel.
Nonprofit law in Ethiopia.