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. 

The East Bay Community Foundation Due Diligence Policy for Grantmaking ensures that grants are made in compliance with applicable laws and in furtherance of our philanthropic goals of eliminating structural barriers, advancing racial equity, and transforming political, social, and economic outcomes.
Workplaces across the globe are in flux—and many are changing for the better. With more remote offerings, flexibility, and accommodations, we face a generational opportunity to codify accessibility and inclusion in institutions that have been exclusive for far too long.
The Career Pathways program is a highly selective pipeline expansion opportunity open to individuals from diverse backgrounds who are currently employed in foundations. The 2022 program applications opened Tuesday, October 5, 2021, and must be submitted by Monday, November 1, 2021. Join us for this information with the Career Pathways Council Team to learn about the 2022 program!
Speakers for the 2021 HR Retreat.
As we continue to navigate a new normal amid a global pandemic, philanthropy has a moral obligation to create spaces for everyone’s voice to be heard, valued, and represented in building common ground to achieve more together. How do we advance the greater good in our community? How do we build trust among donors to tackle old, perpetual problems in new ways? How do we build our capacity to lead in courageous ways in a climate that is more politically charged than ever before? Where is the balance in our dialogue as we work to allow others in? What does the roadmap look like for the future? 
Updated information about the impact of Hurricane Ida on communities and resources for foundations.
Public Policy and Advocacy for Grantmakers provides a roadmap for how foundations can advance their mission and goals by participating in public policy advocacy. The publication includes stories of how foundations across the country have been successful in their policy and advocacy efforts, recommendations and resources for how to engage in public policy and advocacy, and guidance and information specific to public and community foundations.
Join the Council on Foundations to discuss our recently published white paper, which dives into the challenges facing the sector as foundations work to develop solutions that meet their needs. You’ll hear suggestions, recommendations, and next steps from our team and leaders in the field.
Join the Council and CEONet as we convene CEOs and Executive Directors of community foundations for a virtual roundtable.
Join the Council and CEONet as we convene CEOs and Executive Directors of community foundations for a virtual roundtable.