What is a Community Foundation?

Community foundations help build and strengthen community and bring together people and organizations that want to make a difference in the world. 

What makes them special?

  • They are geographically based and specifically serve the charitable people, companies and nonprofits of their locale.
  • They help people with modest assets become philanthropists through named endowment funds
  • As a community-governed, permanently endowed nonprofit, they offer stability and independence like no other entity in town.
  • They are public charities, meaning assets reflect a broad cross-section of donors, not just a select few. Public charities offer a greater tax advantage on your gifts than private foundations.

What do they all have in common?

While community foundations differ in individual operations the Council on Foundations has outlined common characteristics they all share:

  • Flexible, yet permanent collection of funds supported by a wide range of donors
  • Relative independence to determine the best use of those funds to meet community needs
  • Governing board of volunteers knowledgeable about their community and recognized for their involvement in civic affairs
  • Commitment to provide leadership on pervasive community problems
  • Commitment to assist donors to identify and attain their philanthropic goals
  • Adherence to a sense of community that overrides individual interests and concerns