Report: Sustainable Development Goals Cannot Be Reached Without Involvement of Community Foundations Globally

Findings Come As Community Foundation Leaders From Across North America Gather in Mexico City
Monday, February 5, 2018
Arlington, VA

The Council on Foundations today released a report about the impact community foundations can make in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The report, in part a landscape analysis of how community foundations already impact their local communities, also encourages international development and community foundation professionals to collaborate, learn, and take collective action to achieve major global progress on the SDGs by 2030.

“The 17 SDGs represent a global agenda,” said Vikki Spruill, President and CEO of the Council on Foundations. “But they require local action to achieve them. Community foundations ­— place-based, grassroots organizations addressing local challenges — have been overlooked as a means to achieving the SDGs. There is a major opportunity before us to leverage their unmatched convening power and local knowledge to improve lives on a global scale.”

Launched at the first North American Community Foundation Summit being held in Mexico City, Mexico over the next two days, Local Leadership, Global Impact highlights the growing presence and impact of community foundations around the world, and lays a path for community foundations to consider as they apply the lens of the SDGs to their work. The Council on Foundations recommends ten steps for community foundations looking to use the SDGs as a tool to improve quality of life in their communities. These steps include learning about the SDGs, mapping the SDGs to local challenges, using data to create local goals, building cross-sector ownership of solutions and monitoring progress locally. 

Case studies highlight how community foundations around the world, from the United States and Canada to northeastern Brazil and Poland, have used the SDGs as a frame for their local work. “No entity can achieve the bold vision of the SDGs by working alone — and community foundations are showing the world what’s possible when different sectors work together, especially in local contexts,” said Spruill.

Local Leadership, Global Impact is a foundational document and a companion to The North American Community Foundation Summit, co-hosted by Comunalia, the Council on Foundations, and Community Foundations of Canada. The Summit, taking place February 5-6, will bring more than 190 philanthropic leaders together to explore how community foundations can work locally using the SDGs to leave no one behind, and discuss shared issues like education, health, economic development, integrating diaspora communities, immigration, and the evolving roles that community foundations play in communities across North America and around the world.  A copy of the report can be downloaded here.


About the Council on Foundations

An active philanthropic network, the Council on Foundations (, founded in 1949, is a nonprofit leadership association of grantmaking foundations and corporations. It provides the opportunity, leadership, and tools needed by philanthropic organizations to expand, enhance and sustain their ability to advance the common good. With members from all foundation types and sizes, the Council empowers professionals in philanthropy to meet today’s toughest challenges and advances a culture of charitable giving in the U.S. and globally.