About Community Foundations

A community foundation is a grantmaking public charity created by and for a community of people. It is supported by local donors and governed by a board of private citizens who work toward the greater good of the citizens in the community. Funds come from a variety of sources, including bequests and living trusts, and are invested in perpetuity. The investment earnings are then distributed to worthy organizations or causes. There are more than 750 community foundations in the United States and more than 1800 worldwide.

When you give through your community foundation…

You support community leadership.

Community foundations play a key role in addressing community needs, now and in the future. They are governed by leaders with strong ties to our communities. They also act as community catalysts, bringing diverse voices and groups together to address local issues, and fostering greater giving and volunteering in their local communities. Community foundations build and steward permanent endowments for the communities they serve, using the income from those endowments to address changing community needs. Their work ties closely to that of nonprofits; they foster the development of new organizations and programs, support high-impact opportunities, and redirect funds as community needs change.

You receive giving solutions tailored to your situation.

You access local expertise. Your community foundation is a local organization staffed by people from your community and led by a local board of trustees. This group of people has an in-depth knowledge of the issues, opportunities, and resources that shape your community, enabling them to play a key role in solving community problems, while helping donors learn more about local needs in order to make their giving as effective as possible.

Community foundations help donors make a difference where it is needed most.

You receive personalized service.

Community foundations provide personalized service, helping individuals, families, businesses, and nonprofit organizations achieve their charitable and financial goals by offering tools and resources that make giving easy, flexible and effective. Donors can create personal legacies via named funds, teaching future generations the value of giving back. Community foundations offer involvement in recommending (to community foundation boards of directors) uses of a gift, while providing the option to give anonymously.

Community foundations are in the business of building community. For more information and ideas on ways to integrate your financial planning with charitable giving, ask your financial adviser or contact your local community foundation.