Who We Are: What is a Community Foundation?

Community foundations are tax-exempt public charities serving thousands of people who share a common interest—improving the quality of life in their area. Individuals, families, businesses, and organizations create permanent charitable funds that help their region meet the challenges of changing times. The foundation invests and administers these funds. All community foundations are overseen by a volunteer board of leading citizens and run by professionals with expertise in identifying their communities’ needs.

The first community foundation was established in 1914 by a banker in Cleveland.  Today these nonsectarian, nonprofit organizations serve tens of thousands of donors in the United States, administer more than $31 billion in charitable funds, and address the core concerns of nearly 700 communities and regions. Community foundations are designated "public charities" rather than "private foundations" by the Internal Revenue Service because they raise a significant portion of their resources from a broad cross-section of the public each year.

To learn more about the community foundation field, please visit the Council on Foundations website.

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