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What Is a Community Foundation?

A Community Foundation is a collection of separate endowed funds established by individuals and corporations — a community of donors committed to enhancing the quality of life in a local area. These funds are pooled and invested by professional finance managers selected by a board of directors made up of community leaders; the proceeds from these investments are distributed as grants to non-profit organizations.


The first Community Foundations began in 1914 in Cleveland. There are now over 700 Community Foundations nationwide, with total assets over $100 Billion. Community Foundations are the fastest growing form of philanthropy in America today and often are in the vanguard of charitable giving. For example, Community Foundations were among the first to respond to the devastation of AIDS, the crisis in health care, and complex educational issues.

Ten reasons people choose to give through Community Foundations



We are a local organization with deep roots in the community.



Our professional staff has broad expertise regarding community issues and needs.



 We provide highly personalized service tailored to each individual's charitable and financial interests.



Our funds help people invest in the causes they care about most.



We accept a wide variety of assets, and can facilitate even the most complex forms of giving.



We partner with professional advisors to create highly effective approaches to charitable giving.



We offer the maximum tax advantages for most gifts under federal law.



We multiply the impact of gift dollars by pooling them with other gifts and grants.



We build endowment funds that benefit the community forever and help create personal legacies.



We are a community leader, convening agencies and coordinating resources to create a positive change.

cf National Standards
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