Explaining the Growth of Community Foundations

There are hot spots in the growth of community foundations, and the existence of support organizations is important in explaining the growth.

New community foundations 2008 to 2010

(Number of new foundations in each country)

Chart illustrating community foundation growth globally during 2008 to 2010

Explanation of chart

The chart shows the location of new community foundations founded since 2008. The chart understates the growth of foundations, since only those when the date of formation is known have been included.

The remarkable story is Germany where there were 10 community foundations in the year 2000, and 240 in the year 2010.

Other countries worthy of note include Poland, with strong growth so that there are now 32 community foundations. In India community foundations have suddenly taken off. There were seven in 2008, and now there are 16.

Canada is noteworthy for steady growth in numbers of community foundations across the whole decade. That growth shows no signs of leveling off, unlike the United States, which has been flat-lining for some time. Despite difficult economic conditions in Russia, five new community foundations have formed so that there are now 43 community foundations.

The value of support organizations

Lying behind these variations between different countries is an important finding about 'infrastructure'. The best predictor of new growth in community foundations between 2008 and 2010 is the number of 'support organizations promoting community foundations in the country' in 2003. This is a useful vindication of the role of support organizations because the existence of these organizations predicts growth in the field that it aims to support. We can be highly confident about this result because the value of R squared in the regression analysis is 0.79, and the probability that this result is due to chance is less than one in ten thousand.

Where next

We discuss size of assets and grants on the next page.