About Community Foundations

What is a community foundation?

A community foundation is a public grantmaking charity that raises funds from a variety of sources, with the aim of building an endowment as a permanent resource for a local community.

In the Global Status Report 2008, WINGS articulated that the principal characteristics of a community foundation were:

  • to seek to improve the quality of life for all people in a defined geographic area;
  • to be independent from control or influence by other organizations, governments or donors;
  • to be governed by a board of citizens broadly reflective of the communities they serve;
  • to make grants to other nonprofit groups to address a wide variety of emerging and changing needs in the community;
  • to seek to build a permanent resource for the community, most often through the creation of endowed funds from a wide range of donors, including local citizens, corporations, governments, and other foundations and nonprofits;
  • to provide services to donors to help them achieve their philanthropic goals;
  • to engage in a broad range of community leadership and partnership activities, serving as catalysts, convenors, collaborators and facilitators to solve problems and develop solutions to important community issues;
  • to have open and transparent policies and practices concerning all aspects of their operations; and
  • to be accountable to the community by informing the general public about their purposes, activities, and financial status on a regular basis.

Not all of these characteristics are necessarily present at the same time for all community foundations.

Children taking part in The Beautiful Foundation's Rainbow Coin Bank Campaign

The Beautiful Foundation

The Beautiful Foundation mobilizes school children in a giving campaign through their investment in philanthropic education.

VIEW ALL STORIES

We found that support to community foundations was highly available in North America but much less so in Africa.

Odorheiu Secuiesc Community Foundation

This Romanian community foundation has helped the community to work together to identify the buildings in its community most in need of refurbishment. In 2009 local people voted for the town's sports facility. Funds and in-kind donations were raised and the facility is being enjoyed once again by the community.

VIEW ALL COUNTRY PROFILES