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, more than 570 belong to 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.
Public and private sector organizations, anchor institutions like community colleges and universities, and philanthropy all play a vital role in strengthening local economies. Together, they can serve as powerful drivers for building inclusive and equitable communities. Leadership and action are critical to creating new pathways to prosperity.
Learning Labs & Tech Bars
Plenary Sessions & Leadership in Action Series
Celebrate the Council’s 70th birthday in true Miami beach style! Attendees will be immersed in the tropical essences and pulsing energy of South Beach, as we celebrate with the very best music, fine cuisine, and entertainment South Beach has to offer.
As We Look Forward
2019 is an important year for the Council on Foundations. We are reflecting on our role in the changing landscape of philanthropy and the road ahead of us. Above all, we are committed to thinking creatively and responsively about how we best serve Council members.