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.
Community Foundation Network United Kingdom
The Community Foundation Network UK advocates that a change in government policy might impact UK’s Community Foundations grant policy.
Small grants were seen as a means of encouraging people to step forward and take responsibility for their communities.
The Community Foundation for South Sinai
This new Egyptian foundation is at a very early stage in its work and operates among marginalized people in a strictly controlled environment. The changes it expects to achieve will be slow in coming and hard-won when they do. Some very simple grassroots grants have had an important impact in impoverished areas.