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. 

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.
Listing of 2021 UNGA side-events that philanthropic and foundation leaders might be interested in attending.
The challenges of the past year have exacerbated inequities around the world and caused many of us in philanthropy to reflect on how we can change our own ways of working to be more effective partners in transforming societal systems for equity.
The CCSF report is the field’s most comprehensive and authoritative study on investment and governance policies and practices. The 2020 CCSF studies 260 private and community foundations that represent $115.4 billion in assets.
Updated information about the Afghanistan refugee crisis and philanthropy's response.
COVID-19 is leaving a long tail of psycho-social impacts from the variety of losses that people have experienced during the pandemic such as death, illness, housing and job insecurity, and absence of in-person treatment. Policymakers and funders need a sustained and intentional strategy to address these challenges as part of a holistic post-pandemic recovery.
Join Commonfund Institute and the Council on Foundations for a discussion of the results from the newly released 2020 Council on Foundations–Commonfund Study of Investment of Endowments for Private and Community Foundations® (CCSF).
Join us for the Council on Foundations' virtual 2021 Public Policy Summit, where philanthropic leaders from across the country will get an insider’s view of the policy landscape in Washington, DC.
An M7.2 earthquake struck southwest Haiti on Aug. 14, leaving hundreds dead and causing widespread devastation, and Tropical Storm Grace is expected to pass over Haiti on Monday, Aug. 16, bringing heavy rains and strong winds. The Center for Disaster Philanthropy (CDP) is hosting a webinar to look at the impact of the earthquake and tropical storm. Speakers will share the latest information, including critical needs and gaps, and provide concrete takeaways for funders to effectively support relief and recovery efforts now underway.