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 2011, they gave an estimated $4.3 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. Right now nearly 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, more than 570 belong to the Council on Foundations. The community foundation model also has taken hold around the world. According to the 2010 Community Foundation Global Status Report, there are 1,680 community foundations in 51 countries. Forty-six percent exist outside of the United States. 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.

Do the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) matter for real people? In 2015, at the United Nations, all countries agreed on the set of ambitious economic, social and environmental targets to be achieved by no later than 2030, guided by a central motivation to “leave no one behind.” But is the world on track to do so? What are the consequences if it falls short? How many lives are at stake? This paper considers these questions by estimating the extent to which, if recent trends persist, issues and countries will still see people left behind.

How is philanthropy critical in bridging divides?

The Council on Foundations is inviting executive staff of community foundations of various size, scope, and location to glean understanding from diverse viewpoints for an exchange of ideas to Seattle, WA to discuss ways we can strengthen communities across the United States. As a field, we need to come together to discuss the current mischaracterization of donor advised funds (DAFs), and how we can implement strategies for success for all community foundations.

You can become an impact investor today. This guide created by The Philanthropic Initiative will help you learn the different options you have for aligning your financial assets with your social goals to help for-profit and non-profit social benefit organizations become stronger and more sustainable. If you're an individual, family or foundation intrigued by the opportunities presented through impact investing, this guide will help you get started.

 

If you have any questions, pleae email legal@cof.org.

Topics included regulations like the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA), Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), US Treasury’s voluntary anti-terrorism guidelines and more.

The Reports present timely information on national laws and regulations affecting philanthropy. Each report was authored by a local expert in partnership with ICNL.