Resources & Literature


The Balancing Act Series

  • The Balancing Act: The Role of a Community Foundation as a Grantmaker
  • The Balancing Act: The Role of a Community Foundation as a Vehicle for Philanthropy
  • The Balancing Act: The Role of a Community Foundation as a Community Leader

TCFN publicized this group of three practical and insightful publications when they first came out last year: the publisher, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation has had so much demand for printed copies that they have gone into a second printing. The author is consultant and former community foundation CEO, Dorothy (Dottie) Reynolds. She deliberately kept them as simple and straightforward to use as she could while reflecting the juggling act that can be involved in developing and maintaining an effective community foundation.
Spanish versions (courtesy of US Border Philanthropy Partnership)
Portugues versions (courtesy of Instituto Comunitário Grande Florianópolis)
Russian versions (courtesy of Charities Aid Foundation Russia)
Dorothy Reynolds
Flint, USA: Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, 2008

Local Mission-Global Vision: Community Foundations in the 21st Century

Community foundations are powerful philanthropic resources focused on specific geographic areas, pursuing fundamentally local missions. Yet the local concept is increasingly infused with global considerations. This book examines the new role of community foundations, exploring the potential impact of transnational evolution on organized philanthropy.
Hero, Peter deCourcy and Walkenhorst, Peter, editors
New York: Foundation Center, 2008

The Poor Philanthropist II: New Approaches to Sustainable Development

Ceri Oliver-Evans, Director of the Centre says "We hope that this monograph is successful in challenging organised philanthropy to place people rightfully at the centre of their own development by paying attention to three critical and inter-related aspects of philanthropic practice: enhancing indicators of success, reforming grantmaking language, and re-assessing good practice in grantmaking."
Susan Wilkinson-Maposa and Alan Fowler
Cape Town, South Africa: Southern Africa–United States Centre for Leadership and Public Values at the Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, 2009

Raising Money While Raising Hell

Do you believe that advocacy-oriented community leadership and fundraising are naturally at odds with one another? In our latest paper, “Raising Money While Raising Hell”, we beg to differ. This provocative new paper debunks the myth that advocacy-oriented community leadership is naturally antithetical to fundraising, and highlights examples where foundations have built their fundraising efforts by playing advocacy-oriented community leadership roles.
John Kania, Emily Gorin and Valerie Bockstette
Boston, USA: CF Insights, 2009

Taking Informed Action in Challenging Times

Wendy Horton, Valerie Bockstette, Melissa Scott and Diana Cook
Boston, USA: CF Insights, 2009


More than the Poor Cousin? The emergence of community foundations as a new development paradigm

This paper seeks to document a significant development - the emergence over 15 years of community foundations in a range of diverse low and middle-income contexts from the Global South - from Brazil to Thailand and from South Africa to Azerbaijan. The evidence gathered from these foundations - admittedly a small group - points to the growing relevance of locally formulated community development. This marks a shift away from the top-down strategies of many government and international aid programmes towards 'people-led development'. Available in English, Spanish, Portuguese; Thai and Russian versions under development.
Jenny Hodgson and Barry Knight
Johannesburg, South Africa: Global Fund for Community Foundations, 2010

US–Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership Series

The Mott Foundation's Mott News has recently featured a round-up of news of the work of this Partnership and some of their recent publications. The Foundation is a long supporter of this effort to transform life in the US-Mexico border region and the interesting reports below help chart its activity since independence as a free-standing NGO after its incubation by the Synergos Institute. The significance of community foundations is evident in the Partnership’s achievements.
San Diego: US-Mexico Border Philanthropy Partnership, 2010

US Retirement Trends in Mexico's Coastal Communities: Lifestyle Priorities and Demographics

The International Community Foundation, based in California, has a mission around the US's cross border issues, notably in links with Mexico. Their new report, US Retirement Trends in Mexico's Coastal Communities: Lifestyle Priorities and Demographics has been researched to improve understanding of the impact of the recent economic recession on US retirement trends in Mexico. The study is the first of five reports highlighting trends among Americans of 50+ living in Mexico. Forthcoming studies will address topics related to health care; volunteerism, philanthropy and civic engagement; real estate; and the environment.
Richard Kiy and Anne McEnany
National City, USA: International Community Foundation, 2010


Consultation Process Report: Brazil

This report presents the results of a consultation process carried out in Brazil between March and July 2008. The aim of the process was to identify the level of information, interest and commitment among opinion makers and professionals within non-profit organisations regarding the Community Foundation concept and the potential role of the Global Fund for Community Foundations (GFCF) in Brazil. The consultation was coordinated by ICom - Instituto Comunitário Grande Florianopolis, a pioneer community foundation founded in 2005 in southern Brazil. Data collection and analysis were conducted by a team comprised of one project coordinator and two consultants with prior expertise in working with community foundations.
Dellagnelo, Lucia, Anderson Giovani da Silva, and Carolina Trevisan
Johannesburg, South Africa: Global Fund for Community Foundations, 2010

Building Community Vitality: Canada

This web-based leadership toolkit was created to help Canadian community foundations be more effective community leaders. It includes background on leadership, a searchable mini database of leadership resources, and three leading tools to help community foundations start thinking about leadership within their organizations.
Ottawa, Canada: Community Foundations of Canada, 2009

Community Foundations in Germany: Facts and Trends 2008

Community foundations akin to the American model emerged in Germany about a decade ago. By now they have become one of the most dynamically growing areas of philanthropy in Germany and are well on the road to becoming an enduring success. This report shows that at the end of 2008, community foundations were active in more than 237 cities or regions with more than 41% of the German population living in an area covered by a community foundation. While early development was principally in western Germany, the east is beginning to catch up: from 2005 to 2006 the number of newly established community foundations in East Germany doubled: within this period as many community foundations were established as in the previous nine years together. For an online community foundation finder or to read the full report in German, see the English website.
Judith Polterauer and Bernadette Hellmann
Berlin, Germany: Aktive Bürgerschaft e.V., 2009

Mexico Community Foundations: A Comprehensive Profile

A new study, Mexico Community Foundations: A Comprehensive Profile, has been funded by the Mott, Ford, and Inter-American Foundations and the Global Fund for Community Foundations, and undertaken by a team led by Renee Berger. It has multiple purposes: for the Mexican community foundation field, the funders’ and researchers’ intentions were to be “informational, constructive and forward-looking”. They offer detailed comparison and analysis of 17 foundations, analyze their operating environment and make practical recommendations, e.g. on training and support, field-building to gain strength from combining as a “movement”, and fiscal and legal issues to tackle.
Renee Berger, Diana Bermúdez, Patricia Carrillo Collard, Mónica Tapia Álvarez
Mexico City, Mexico: Alternativas y Capacidades, 2009

Polish Local Philanthropic Organizations: For people to live better lives

A comprehensive ten year summary of the state of community foundations in Poland has been published by the Federation of Polish Community Foundations. The Federation, created in 2007 and registered in 2008, continues activities run by an informal network of foundations, operating since 2001. The report is the first study prepared by the Federation and it contains information on 19 Polish community foundations.
Monika Mazurczak
Nidzica, Poland: Federation of Community Foundations in Poland, 2009

Community Foundations in Russia: Phase of Institutional Development

This book is devoted to questions of the function of Russian community foundations as a form of institutional philanthropy. The empirical base of this publication is formed from results of sociological research, conducted by the Center for Civil Society Studies and the Non-profit Sector (State University - Higher School of Economics) in the year 2009. Particularities of community foundations as a specific type of nongovernmental noncommercial organizations, including personnel, volunteers, financial and grant-giving managing procedures are disclosed in the research. Issues of strategic planning are explored, as well as communication space of community foundations. Questions of interaction between community foundations and State are thoroughly analyzed in the publication. Among them there are issues of motives and benefits of cooperation, evaluation of community foundations' services to government authorities and other forms of cooperation.
I.V. Mersiyanova and I.I. Solodova
Moscow, Russia: Publishing House of the State University - Higher School of Economics, 2010

Community Leadership Toolbox: Building on the Framework

Community foundation staff and board members are invited to join this webinar to learn practical approaches to using the Framework for Community Leadership by a Community Foundation to think about and improve your community leadership work.
Janet Topolsky and John Molinaro
Kansas City, USA: CF Leads, 2009

Equity Advancing Equity: Community Philanthropy, Social Equity and Mission Investing

A new publication in the series Future Matters, On the Brink of New Promise by Lisa Richter and Lucy Bernholz, is Equity Advancing Equity, a review of the way community foundations are using the tool of mission investing to further their impact. Both the Executive Summary and Full Report are available for download and both are full of examples of ways that community foundations are diversifying into market-rate and below market-rate investment in projects and services that will benefit their localities.
Executive Summary
Lucy Bernholz and Lisa Richter
San Francisco, USA: Blueprint Research & Design Inc. and GPS Capital Partners LLC, 2009

From Crisis to Opportunity: Learning from One Region's Response to the Economic Downturn

This report profiles the actions taken by funders across one region of the US in order to surface lessons for community-based funders in all regions. The authors found that many Pacific Northwest funders changed practices and policies in response to urgent needs. To do more with less, these funders were intentional about how best to apply and leverage assets, often collaborating with others to avoid wasting time, effort and money.
Rebecca Graves, Fay Hanleybrown and Veronica Borgonovi
Boston, USA: FSG Social Impact Advisors, 2010

Saffa Women's Committee

Association of Slovak Community Foundations

Bratislava Community Foundation supports neighbouring Hungarian citizens to start a Community Foundation by offering learning and site visits.


The growth of community foundations in Europe has been spectacular.

UK community foundations

Through the Fair Share Trust, a programme targeting funding at the seventy-seven most deprived areas of the UK, greater involvement and trust of local people is seen in deciding what local priorities for grants are and in allocating funding.